Sitting is the New Smoking
"Sitting is the new smoking," said the slender man with a twinkle in his eye. A wave of guilt swept over me, and I sat up straighter, fighting the urge to slump down into my chair and disappear. Of course sitting all day is bad for you. Who does that anyway? Not me.
I know that I write about cycling and feeling free, but the truth is:
I spend an awful lot of time sitting these days.
I glanced around at my fellow lecture attendees, perched on folding chairs under the soft lights of the public library. This free informative talk on workplace health had drawn a small crowd. I wouldn't be here if Alex hadn't dragged me away from my computer to listen to this man named Adam talk about "Vitality in Captivity."
That's right, captivity. Adam put it into perspective for me in away no one had before: human beings evolved to live outside and walk barefoot over uneven terrain, eating wild foods, and moving our bodies at least every twenty minutes. "Doesn't this," Adam said, showing us a picture of an office cubicle, "look like captivity compared to that?"
It did. As a matter of fact, as my sweetie Alex pointed out, the image he'd shown us earlier of a gorilla enclosure at the zoo looked like a more humane workplace. The office pictured was square, grey, lifeless, and mercilessly unadorned. Adam told us that sitting for more than six hours per day is very common, and yet poses severe health risks.
I know that I write a lot about cycling and feeling free, but the truth is: I spend an awful lot of time sitting these days. Sitting. On the computer. I confess to sitting for over six hours a day, hunched over my laptop in the worst possible position for the health of my spine, my lungs, and my "chi flow," as Adam puts it. I thought that's what writing a memoir required: sedentary agony. But it turns out my darling Alex dragged me to the right place at the right time, and I now I know better.
I'm currently typing away on my laptop at my new, homemade standing desk, changing position every few minutes. I have to remember to hold my head back and relax my face, instead of scrunching forward in concentration. Adam told us that staring at something at close range brings a natural stress response to humans, whereas gazing far off into the distance relaxes us. Fascinating. I look up from typing to enjoy the view out the window. It's a dreary day in Puget Sound, but this view of the ocean is always welcome.
Yup, cycling can save your life.
So it turns out, taking a quick break to walk around the block or ride your bike to the nieghbor's house has never been more important. Sitting, in many ways, is killing our bodies and our creativity. It's time to bring movement back into our daily lives, and looking at the horizon for the big picture.
Yup, cycling can save your life. I always wanted to write that.
Now, time for a ride!