Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let Me Be Your Wife … Please

Barbara: The title? Okay, I have this preconceived and maybe sexist notion that if I recommend some lifestyle change, I sound like the classic “wife”. You know, the concerned matron who ensures her husband doesn’t eat too many nitrates and goes to the doctor on a regular basis. This notion probably comes from my very compelling personal experience: both my father and husband fall into this category! So no offence intended and if you’ll humour me, I do want to be everybody’s wife for a minute here.

Yesterday, I read this article about the dangers of sitting too long. Now I wouldn’t be bringing this up if it were the usual manifesto on weight loss and/or exercise. We all know the scoop on that, right? What piqued me on this one is that they’re discovering now that people who sit for extended periods of time are prone to developing all sorts of icky cancers. (Is there a non-icky cancer? Jinx!)

Even if you jog EVERY DAY, if you then sit for the rest of it: same risk!

The reason I think it’s so important to spread the word on this is that I was totally in the group of people who assumed if one was basically active, one did not run any added health risks by working stationary. I am also FIRMLY in the group of people who sits for much of the day. I am also in the group of people who has many many beloveds who sit for much of the day. And, of course, we are all doing important stuff: we’re writing and researching and collating and number-crunching and creating and Facebooking. But we are ensconced. Out of necessity.

The article tells us that research into this correlation between the prolonged seated position and various cancers and a shortened life expectancy is just in its infancy. Barely a couple of year’s worth of curiosity has been invested—and already the stats are sadly impressive. “Sitting down is killing us,” reads the copy; “It’s a lifestyle factor that’s like a bomb on health.” Stuff like that.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to wait for the next wave of conclusive evidence to get me off my chair in regular intervals and get the body moving, at least somewhat. I already notice that my right shoulder slowly seizes up the longer I sit without a break, and unseizes as soon as I move.

So let me be your wife, please, and urge you, implore you!, to get off your chair as often as you can and move around. Love you!

Deb: I read the same thing, Barb. I totally agree that we should get up and move more and on a regular basis, but I also confess that this article was to me another in the long line of “scare” vibe articles. I read warning after warning about what we are doing not doing eating not eating breathing not breathing, that can give us cancer. I am employing my old friend moderation on all of the above. However, move more ... sure. It’s a good thing! A great thing, in fact. Just make sure you’re not walking around talking on your cell phone!!!


  1. Thanks for the push Barb, I think we should all move around more too, and I am trying to do that. Not only does it do our bodies good, but it is so great for our heads. I find that no matter how much I don't want to go on that walk in this grey weather we are experiencing, I always feel better, happier and more energized after I do it. That saying just keeps running through my head...."Just Do It"....

  2. This is so true, Mary-Jo -- we always feel better after we move. And like Deb said, everything in moderation, like sitting!! This will be a hard one for me, but it does resonate deep within as a physical truth. Our bodies need to move, maybe not more aggressively, but on a regular basis. Since I work at home, I'm going to do chores between writing sessions instead of at the end of the day. Maybe in an office you've gotta do the "plane" thing, where you get up every now and then and walk around for no other reason than to walk around...

  3. I work from home too Barb, that's why I am always so quick to comment on your blog. I am usually on the computer (actually too much) Just got in from a walk (Ya see the push) and although is grey, it's really lovely out there and I feel a ton better than an hour ago. Now, if I could just intersperse them more with the sitting thing, that would be great. I used to do that routine while I was studying in a little....move a little....and I found I retained more and was more patient with the study process. Your post just made me remember that. Thanks Barb.

  4. I just had a bad back incident(first one) and everyone said it was from laying on my bed and reading and writing. I am now at a desk but move every few minutes because I can do that at home.

  5. I feel that I was a bit of a Scrooge on this on now. It is a great idea. I mean more movement can only help us right? But I guess I just grow weary of the "what is going to kill us next" articles. That's all. Now that you have read my comment...get up and move damn it!

  6. Moving your body is all good. Moving house is torture. Also, kinda agree with Deb about "what will kill us next". "Got brown hair, itchy feet and periodic tightness in your stomach?" You might have ------ disease. Let's face it, we all have 6 of the 10 leading symptoms of every disease known to science...we're all just waiting for the right math to seal the deal.

  7. AMEN, Deb. (Sorry, Barb). I no longer trust articles like the one Barb refers to. "Journalism" these days seems more to be sensationalized snippets of poorly investigated issues, printed with the express purpose of selling advertisements. Okay, so having said that, I agree that we should all be getting exercise daily. So because my temporary "wife" said to, I'm getting up and driving to the park for a walk in the fresh air.
    All I have left to say to Barb is, yes dear, I'm getting up. Fix me a ham sandwich and a bowl of tomato bisque, I'm gonna be starving when I get back. ;)

  8. Ha! I hear you, naysayers. Believe me, I get fed up with exhortations against everything and anything. That said, this one just made so much sense to my innate physical being (and these are scientific studies being done here, right?), that I felt it an important reminder to change things up a bit. As much to me as to anyone. And as some of you, including an embittered and grumpy Karen ;) will attest: it's good to move no matter how halfheartedly we embrace it! (PS Karen, I am all for the eating!) Thanks Mary-Jo and Madge!

  9. you know, I have started working at my computer standing. My husband comes in and laughs at me, but there you have it: me, at the piano, with my laptop in front of me, typing. But here's the question, does it help if I'm standing still?

  10. I want one of those desks with the treadmill underneath.

  11. Gae, I bet anything that helps (because the blood isn't just stopping at the ol butt-age area). I often read standing.

    James -- sounds like an invention waiting to happen -- I'll be first in line :)

    Me --I keel wondering if I should get one of those inflatable balls you can sit on instead of a chair.

  12. Surely, I'm not the only one who grumpily grouched, "Sitting is bad? Fine. I'll go lay down."

  13. EEK! Sitting in class all day + sitting at night and doing homework= this girl sits a lot! Fortunately my job has me on my feet a lot, but not so much in the upcoming days since classes are winding down! Thanks for the heads up. I've always wanted one of those gigantic yoga balls to sit on (only because I like bouncing on them). Perhaps that would help...


  14. I set my kitchen timer so that every 50-60 minutes at my desk I've no choice but to go turn it off (can't stand to let the dinging go on!) and then I walk around the house for 5 or 10 minutes, or go outside for a walk or, in summer, spend 10 minutes hoeing in the garden. I come back sharper and refreshed, so it does make a difference to my overall outlook, and I'm sure it makes a health difference too. You can't go wrong with a "Move more, more often" motto.
    Also if you sit on the floor (not leaning against cushions) while watching TV, you are actually using muscles that you don't use if on couch or chair. Your body is working.
    And I like the standing desk idea. Just make sure you've got really good shoes. Look after those footsies.

  15. I don't know about the cancer-stuff, but I think that we do sit more often than other generations.
    Why walk, when you can take the car/bus/train/whatever?

    Nearly everybody spends too much time staring at the computer or tv screen...

    I try to do sports almost every day (I'm desperately trying to lose some weight). I play something called Korbball (it would be translated as Basketball, but it's not the same), and most of my teammates are between 40 and 60. And they're so fit. Bloody hell! Our coach is over 70, and he runs and jumps around like a young boy...that's amazing!

    I also decided to go swimming once a week. I love the water. Always have. I also do aqua fitness once a week.

    I also like to jog or take a walk (one of my hobbies is Geocaching - don't know if you heard of it - but it involves walking around in the nature)...

    See, I try to fight the evil chair/sofa army...but I'm not always successful.

  16. Rigel, lol!! I know, me too.

    Holly, I figured you guys would be running around more than your average!

    And Kate -- love love LOVE your routine!! Now there's an idea: a timer to remind you it's time to stretch.

    Becki, wow, you sound sooo good! I've never heard of geocaching, but I certainly vote for walking around in nature!

  17. I've eaten enough preservatives over the years in everything from twinkies to... well, almost everything else. I've also worshipped the saccharin gods for a LOT of years. EVERYTHING causes cancer, and none of it worries me, anymore. I don't work with asbestos, I can't do anything about genetics, and I have to breathe the air we're given, so, well... In the spirit of Christmas, (with all due respect to you, Barb, 'cause this isn't personal)... Bah Humbug.

    But we can look at the whole walking thing as it relates to my lifestyle, if you wish.

    Ummmm... Hmmm... Yeah-no...Let's see...

    OH! I walk to the bathroom! It's even on the second floor. Five feet from my room. Where I spend most of my time. Damn...

    Seriously, our basic mantra at weightwatchers is "eat less, move more." I've noticed that it actually works, too. (I've lost 35lb in a year and a half.) I get up more often, just to remind my knees that yeah, they're still connected to me. I hate to walk. I just do. It's not something I go out of my way to do. When the necessity hits, I do it. Just not happy about it.

    (This is the current theme of my mood, so a grain or two of salt would be a nice touch when reading this.)

  18. I have to tell all of you that I quite enjoyed the back and forths here -- after all, we do claim in our header "different opinions". And it's fun to exercise them without rancor and meanness, just some good old-fashioned banter (and believe me, I quite expected it, hence the "wife" comment). To those who played: thanks! And to Dawn: no worries, salt was applied and I didn't even rub it in a wound! Thank you!!

  19. Ha, Dawn you're right...every year (month?) they discover that doing/eating something causes serious sicknesses...I guess everyone has at least caught one just by living.

    Ah Barbara, I don't know. I just love sports...people often made fun of me, because I am not that thin, and were then astonished that I am quite sporty.

    Geocaching is some sort of scavenger hunt played with a GPS device. It's funny and interesting (you come to places you would have never visited).



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