There’s a lot of evil in the world, but there’s a special kind of evil that has been lurking in our midst that few even know of, let alone discuss. It is destroying our lives, slowly and silently. We cannot tolerate this any longer. Something can and must be done. The time is now for us to take a stand.
Seriously, let’s take a stand. Stand up, get up, and stretch. The evil that is lurking in plain sight is chairs, which is why today, I declare a war on chairs!
Actually, my new vendetta is less against chairs and more against sitting for prolonged periods of time. I recently started digging into the research and articles linking sitting for long periods with a number of chronic health conditions, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol level. For example, check out this recent article in the LA Times and this meta-analysis of 18 different studies that appeared in the journal Diabetologia.
One recent study found that adults who spend more than four hours a day sitting while watching television or playing computer games have nearly 50% increased health risk, compared with people who spend less than two hours a day sitting while watching television.
As James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine said in an article in the Los Angeles Times, “the chair is out to kill us.”
I certainly can be found guilty of prolonged sitting, which is why I asked the Mayor to bring a proclamation to City Council declaring July 17th “Stand Up for Workplace Wellness Day in the City of Portland.” And this Wednesday, July 17, the Mayor and my colleagues on Council will take a stand.
Although this is in good fun, the proclamation on Wednesday will underscore the very serious point that by taking the simple action of standing or stretching throughout the day, we can improve our health and well-being.
Research suggests that spending even a few hours a week at the gym or in other moderate to vigorous activity doesn’t offset the risk of sitting for extended periods. That point shouldn’t discourage anyone from working out, but it does demonstrate just how evil chairs are.
One way to counter the negative health effects of prolonged sitting is to stand when talking on the phone, eating lunch, or gathering for meetings. Although standing may not always be a viable option, incorporating some form of light, physical activity throughout the day is beneficial.
Down with chairs, and All Rise in honor of Stand Up for Workplace Wellness Day in Council Chambers at 9:30 a.m. this Wednesday, July 17.