Should we take a stand against sitting?

An article yesterday, collating all of the bad news into one readable chunk, talks about one of our worst
habits: sitting. Whether you do it on the toilet, at the hairdressers or while driving, it’s killing you and you need to stop.

We spend half our lives sitting down, and it can increase our risk of almost every deadly disease you can think of, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as making us fatter.

The article cites a study that says even doctors are advocating standing up while we’re at work. It also warns GPs against sitting all day, and suggests that more consultations could be done with both the doctor and patient standing.

That’s right, the place you go to when you feel at your worst – the place that’s usually already unbearably hot and stuffy without flu germs pumping around your body – wants you to stand while a doctor pokes and prods you.

Outside of the doctors, the advice to spend more time standing is worth thinking about, especially because it can add years onto our lives – if only the world wasn’t designed around us sitting on our big, fat bums. Wherever you look, I guarantee there’s a seat. And it’s expected that you’ll sit on it like everyone else.

I could probably try standing up at work – after all, heart disease doesn’t sound great. But in an open-plan office of over 100 people who sit down, I’ll end up getting a strained neck, weird glances and looking like I have some kind of embarrassing bum-related issue preventing me from sitting down.

Aside from work, I guess I could try it on the train. Only, I’d probably get several broken bones before being kindly escorted out of the carriage and asked in a patronising tone if I’m aware how the whole train thing works.

The advice to stand isn’t practical. Until every office is installed with a treadmill desk, and every mode of public transport is as busy as a central London bus in rush hour – it isn’t going to be easy to take a stand against sitting.

We do a lot of things that are bad for us, and most of them aren’t compulsory. But sitting is a social norm, and seats are all around us, inviting our tired, aching feet to take a rest. I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs – sitting feels good, so let me have it.

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