|Coming soon: desk-based urinals! Photo stolen from National Public Radio.|
An article in the New Yorker magazine has found that sitting for long periods is bad for you -- even if you seem to be in decent shape.
The article notes:
If you go to the gym three times a week, you may feel fit, but you won't be metabolically healthy. Sitting puts muscles into a sort of hibernation, cutting off their electrical activity and shutting down the production of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat molecules in the blood. Your metabolic rate drops to about one calorie a minute -- just slightly higher than if you were dead. Sitting for more than two hours causes the presence of good cholesterol to drop, and, in time, insulin effectiveness plummets. This can lead to cardiovascular problems, certain kinds of cancer, depression, deep-vein thrombosis, and type-2 diabetes.The physician whose work is cited in the article -- Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona -- says the best antidote is the treadmill desk. As the name sounds, this is a desk that's built or retrofitted to include a treadmill underfoot. The desktop is elevated so that your computer, paper clips, coffee cup and iPad/Pod/Phone are right at hand while you're standing and walking on the treadmill. Levine's research has shown that this solution can, indeed, ward off the myriad health threats connected to sedentary work. But there's no getting around that this is an awkward way to address the basic problem of our age, which is that so many activities that once got us up and out of the house are now done indoors on our butts with a computer or some other i-gizmo.
The treadmill desk doesn't challenge this way of life. It proposes to solve our gadget-induced health problems with another gadget.Of course!
Aliens -- riding their bikes to the store -- are looking down at us and laughing!