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Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise 376

Ant tips the week-old news that sitting down too much is not good for you, even if you are otherwise fit. A blog at the LA Times reports a followup from Swedish exercise experts: they propose "establishing a new way of thinking about sedentary behavior. They suggest abolishing 'sedentary behavior' as a synonym for not exercising. Instead, sedentary time should be defined as 'muscular inactivity' to distinguish it from not doing any exercise at all." These experts warn that the excessively sedentary are running serious health risks, irrespective of how much exercise they get when they're not plonked behind a desk or lying on a sofa.
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Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise

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  • Insurance? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onlysolution ( 941392 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:10AM (#30829894)
    I honestly can't help but wonder if this will eventually be used as an excuse to hike insurance/worker's comp rates for desk jockeys...
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:33AM (#30830002)

    EVERY hour spent sitting idle in front of the television raises the risk of premature death from heart disease by 18%, an
    Australian study found.


  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:34AM (#30830006)
    TFA actually does not make conclusions anything like what is written in OP. The differences may seem slight at first glance, but they are actually very major.
  • by asquithea ( 630068 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:34AM (#30830008)

    This should be modded insightful, not funny. All the injuries I've ever had have come from sports, not idleness or walking for pleasure.

    Sitting still too long might not be healthy, but the reality is that your diet will have a much greater impact on your health than exercise ever will.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:38AM (#30830020)
    TFA is obviously mistaken on at least one point. They say that every hour spent watching TV increases your risk of premature death by heart attack by 18%... which means that if you spend 8 hours watching TV, you will likely have died 1.44 times. I know that they meant "daily" but even so. The numbers do not add up.
  • by ZeroExistenZ ( 721849 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:41AM (#30830036)

    Secondly, if you are sitting for hours at a desk each day, you are not fit.

    I work as a software consultant and alot of my work is sitting.

    Every 2-3 days, however, I swim about 2 km or 1.2 miles to clear my mind, overthink business and personal goals or issues.
    I'd like to think I'm somewhat fit, even though I sit for most of the day.

  • by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:48AM (#30830070)
    so they stamp out an 8-page paper with more authors than pages, in a journal called "Circulation" from the American Heart Association , whose slogan is Learn and Live. (Bias anyone?)

    Here is the papirus: []

    I'm not too convinced here. Besides the obvious Duh! factor in TFP, I feel there's much more to the story and until lots and lots of follow-up studies are done I'm not convinced. Hell, these dudes are saying that you can be lean and mean (totally fit) and still have a much higher chance of death if you rest watching the F'n TV. And the numbers are STAGGERING.

    I think it was Carl Sagan that used to say "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"; correct me if I'm wrong; but one study in a journal with an obvious bias just isn't enough to scare me. Now if you'll excuse me I'll watch that rerun of last tango in paris.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:51AM (#30830090) Homepage

    What's that? The bastard offspring of sports "scientists" and holistic medicine "professionals"?

    The published and presumably peer reviewed raw data? Yes, OK, let's discuss that. Advice from people who couldn't get jobs teaching high school gym, and instead have to write about what they would teach, if they could teach? Not so much.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @06:57AM (#30830124) Homepage Journal

    Please don't mod parent "Funny".

    He's actually pointing out a major cause for mankind's current crisis. No matter if it's financial, political or climate trouble, you can always look at it and find one root cause: All these are issues we are biologically ill-equipped to deal with. Long-term problems with no immediate danger. When the human brain evolved, it didn't have spare room for that kind of processing, except in the general "deal with all the other complicated stuff, if you feel like it" area we call reasoning. Our main problem was not being eaten today, finding a mate soon and getting the tribe to that other place by the end of the month. "Next year" was about as far as our ancestors ever needed to plan, so we don't have any brain matter specialized to doing it. "May hurt me in 10 years time" is a waste of energy to think about when your survival until next week is far from certain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @07:12AM (#30830188)

    Why not? Smokers get breaks all the time.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @07:14AM (#30830202)

    Only on Slashdot...
    Sorry dude, but EPIC FAIL!

    How about you stop eating? Most diseases come from bad food (wrong long-term balance, etc).
    How about you stop kissing and sex. You could get herpes. Oh, wait, we’re on Slashdot. ;)
    You see how this makes no sense.

    Think for a second, about, what human bodies are build for.
    You know what the number one advantage of humans was, back in the hunter/gatherer times?
    That we were able to “out-jog” and other life-form on the planet. We did just follow the animal, until it couldn’t walk any further. Nobody could walk as far as we did. Some native American tribes (in Mexico, I think) still are a testament to that. They walk hundrets of miles in one trip. In crappy shoes or barefoot. (After all, we’re built for it.) No problem.
    And they never get sick. They have some of the best healths on the planet.

    You should really stop making excuses, and think about, what hundreds of thousands of years of evolution optimized you for. Can’t get any better.

  • Secret to life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:16AM (#30830520)

    Alright, here's a little secret for all of you:

    Everyone dies, once.

    I rather live enjoying my time on my seat and sofa than force myself to write emails standing up.

  • by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:35AM (#30830602)

    "And they never get sick. They have some of the best healths on the planet."

    Citation needed.

  • Re:Insurance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:14AM (#30831336) Homepage

    That would not be an excuse. It would be a reason.

  • Re:My excuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happy_place ( 632005 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:21AM (#30831428) Homepage

    I don't think we really consider the impact of what it means to be in front of a computer day in and day out. yesterday a coworker and I put together some cabinets for a lab. It was outside the normal routine of programming/code work that we normally do. After four hours of this, we were both pretty beat, though there was nothing of extraordinary physical prowess required in putting the stupid cabinets together. We had to use a screwdriver, lift metal panels into place, etc, but nothing like my old grandpa used to do day in and day out on his farm. Feeling winded just climbing the steps to my office, I am starting to regret a lot about this particular field.

    Sure one can exercise, but even so, it's always forced and "unnatural" in the sense that it's not required effort for what i do all day long. It's a bit like the guy who engages in body building just long enough to get a movie deal or go on his honeymoon, and then the moment he stops he's worse off than when he started, because all that unnatural muscle turns flabby, because it simply isn't used.

    The other effect that comes with low-activity levels is that I am crankier--less willing to get up and help the kids, keep moving. When you're out of shape you tend to think of the shortest path to doing everything. I noticed this first when I saw an obese couple leaving a shopping market. Both were bickering over who put the groceries away. Then they had to climb up into their pickup, and the cart they were to put away started to drift. Since they'd already both gone to all the effort of climbing into the cab of the truck, neither of them wanted to climb out and get the cart so they yelled at each other. Someone in decent physical condition would not have thought twice about jumping out, grabbing the cart and putting it in its own spot.

    I don't know how one might solve these issues outside of making programming a full-body sport, but the concerns are legit, imo. Exercise really can't be something you tack onto the end of your day. It really should be part of the whole work experience, and there really aren't a lot of trivial solutions to that problem.

  • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <keeper_of_the_wolf&yahoo,com> on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:34AM (#30831614)
    The American Heart Association does not profit from this news, and it is not trying to sell anything with the results. If there was a particular medicine, exercise, food, or other product implicit in their recommendations I would be dubious. I don't think your accusation of bias is justified.

    On the other hand, I am personally troubled by the results. Between work and leisure I spend 50-60 hours per week in front of a monitor, and if the study is accurate than I would guess that most of the negative results of television watching transfer to computer use. I may resort to something absurd like an alert system every hour to force me to take a walk.
  • by jr76 ( 1272780 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @11:59AM (#30832844)
    I exercise, and just like most Americans who work in an office, am stuck on my chair for 8 hours a day behind a computer. It's not like I can work while playing basketball or whatever. Are we supposed to either be doing manual labor all day or die?
  • Re:My excuse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @02:04PM (#30834842)

    I second bike commuting. It was the best lifestyle choice I've made in memory.

    Wake up, drink 18 oz. of water. The physical exertion of riding the bike oxygenates my blood, and gives me energy to start the day. Waking up and riding in the sunshine is much more inspiring than going underground in to a rat-infested subway station -- it's made a huge difference in my mood when I arrive at work. I feel alive and full of energy. Plenty oxygen to the brain makes for clearer thinking.

    In addition to the mental and physical health benefits, I save $4.50 every day in subway fare.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @02:12PM (#30834940) Journal
    If you look at his workout, it was extremely unbalanced (assuming that was his workout). He wasn't really doing anything to exercise his back, and he probably had weak erector spinae muscles (that run along the spine), which is a problem most people have when they get a slipped disc. Note that the erector spinae actually is connected to the glutaeus maximus, so if your legs aren't flexible, it can cause problems when you try to stretch your spine (like during situps). All it takes is a day when your muscles are stiff, or maybe you've been out drinking and you are tired, or you over-exercised, and your back-muscle weakness will cause a painful failure.

    If you want to exercise your back muscles, I would suggest doing deadlift and squat, but some people like to do supermans []. I can't stand them.

    To get a well balanced body, you can do something like this:
    Day 1: Deadlift
    Day 2: Pullups
    Day 3: Squat
    Day 4: Dumbell standing back row

    You should be able to do each of these in just 15 minutes, so if you want you can warm up with a nice run or something. Pay attention to your body, but normally you should rest at least two days a week.

    To avoid injury doing these, the absolutely best thing you can do is get to know your body. Try to feel every fiber of muscle that flexes when you are lifting. Feel the pleasure of moving your body. Be aware of your limits.

    Before you are aware of your limits, to protect yourself from injury, you can do something like this: for each exercise, do three sets. One set of 10 reps at 50% of your maximum weight, one set of 10 at 75% of your maximum weight, and one set of 2 or 3 at 90% of your maximum weight. And then, don't push your maximum weight up more than 5 pounds a month for a while. After you start to know your body, you can move up faster, but at first you're going to have some muscles that are stronger than others, and that will give your weaker muscles a chance to catch up, and it will give you a chance to get to know your body.

    Also, get on youtube and watch the pros to see the technique they use. It is fluid and flowing, natural, almost like dancing. Even now I watch those guys sometimes to figure out how I can improve. Actually even in the gym I pay attention to almost everyone, I can learn from them; you can learn sometimes even from the people who do it completely wrong, and you never know when you'll run into someone who knows something you don't know. Also, if you are relaxed when you lift weights, it will automatically improve your flexibility.

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