die in a plane crash In a car accident. They could shoot me in the street. It may be that a shark eat me at sea. It could be devoured by a bear in the forest. They could kidnap me, ask for ransom, and murder me in another country. Die in a fire. In an explosion because of terrorism. My parachute can fail. It can sink my ship. I can crash on my motorcycle. I may forget to look both ways to cross the street and, splat!
There are countless ways in which I can die out there, but I can always avoid an untimely death by staying at home sitting on the couch. True? True?!?
It's not true!
A very wise man -Mr. Burns of "The Simpsons" - he once said, "Sit down: the great leveler." From the most powerful pharaoh to the lowest peasant, who does not enjoy a good seat? "
Me. I do not enjoy a good sitting. I'm afraid to die every time I spend more than 20 minutes in a chair.
Have you read these headers?
"Sitting is a lethal activity? - New York Times
" Sitting for more than three hours a day shortens life expectancy "Wall Street Journal
" Is the office chair killing you? "Men's Health
" Why sitting around all day is killing you "CBS News
" 7 ways in which sitting down is killing you "Popular Science
" All our editors passed away in the morning "Sitting Illustrated Okay, the last one I invented, but if there was a publication called Sitting Illustrated - and the fact that there is not is the main failure of capitalism - that particular publication would be in serious trouble.
Sit, I love you You are one of my favorite activities, Are you trying to kill me?
The scare of the chair
In recent years has been a series of investigations related to sitting, so terrifying that has literally thrown people of the chair The trend of the standing desk is becoming popular through the nation. Maybe you have a partner who is always standing in the office. Maybe you'll make fun of him behind his back, but will he laugh at the last one seeing your coffin during your funeral?
The investigation says yes, it will.
There is a very strong association between sitting and chronic diseases. The keyword here is association. Nobody knows for sure if sitting is a cause of poor health. There is a lot we do not know when it comes to sitting and health.
The physiology of inactivity-the study of the body when it does nothing-is a relatively new field. Richard Rosenkranz, a professor in the nutrition department at Kansas State University, calls it "unexplored terrain that is taking shape in a hurry."The recent avalanche of research was born from the work of Professor Marc Hamilton and his colleagues at the "Pennington Biomedical Research Center" through the study of rats during the last two decades. His research opened the field for large-scale studies involving humans, which have received a lot of attention in important publications.
One of these studies in humans was conducted by Hidde Van Der Ploeg, principal investigator at the University of Sydney, at the public health school "Sydney School of Public Health". His team reviewed information collected from 200,000 Australians. The research revealed that adults who sit for 11 hours a day or more have 40% more risk of death in the next three years, compared to people who spend four hours or less a day sitting.
"We think that sitting for long periods is bad for cardiovascular and metabolic health," said Van Der Ploeg. "It seems to be bad for ACL cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin sensitivity."
Which Is the physiological explanation of this?
When I asked Craig Harris, a professor of exercise physiology at "Kansas State," he said there has not been much research into the physiological reaction to sitting for long periods of time. Then he started saying a number of medical terms that you do not want to hear in a doctor's office.
"Briefly, what we know is that sedentary behavior increases the level of triglycerides, decreases the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreases insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, suppresses the activity of lipase in skeletal muscle, the enzyme that is responsible for triglyceride hydrolysis and decreased bone density, "said Harms. Many laboratories are studying the death-by-chair phenomenon, and Harms predicts that we will have more information about physiology in some years.
Until the investigation is complete, all we know is that there are health risks associated - not caused, but associated - with sitting down.
How to know how much is too much? Rosenkranz of "Kansas State" reviewed the information of 63,000 middle-aged men, and his team linked the time they spend sitting with the odds of a chronic illness. The magic number is four hours. Men who are sitting for more than four hours a day were more likely to report a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, compared to men who sit less than four hours a day. The association with diabetes and hypertension were the strongest; the association with cancer, the least.
Oh, you're thinking, that's not a problem for me because I exercise.
Oh, you're wrong.
You may be in excellent shape, but if you sit for long periods of time, the association between sitting and a chronic illness is still present.
Lynette Craft, assistant professor of prevention medicine at the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that women who exercise regularly stay the same amount of time sitting as women who exercise regularly. they do not exercise.
"The relationship between sitting and a chronic illness is independent of the time that people spend physically active," Craft said. "Even when we control the amount of physical activity that people get, the relationship persists. Do not forget this behavior, it may be this silent thing that will end with you without realizing it. "
Correlation or cause?
Science has not decided, so nobody can say with certainty that sitting leads to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other diseases. It is possible that people who smoke and drink and do not sleep enough and have other habits of this type, also like to sit down. Behavioral patterns tend to come together, which means that someone who has a bad lifestyle choice can have either.
Researchers say that although they are not sure, the association is strong.
Van Der Ploeg works on a standing desk and stands up when using the train. Rosenkranz works at a desk sitting and standing. Craft gets up from the chair at least once per hour. Hamilton and his team have a program on their computers that reminds them to stand up every 15 minutes.
Are the experts correct? Is there a link between death, illness and sitting? In the future, will we execute the prisoners condemned to death by tying them to an office chair?
I wrote this article completely while standing.
Joe Donatelli is a freelance writer. Follow him in oedonatelli. com.