Why I am walking and working

Some fads are fads. Some fads are causes. Eight years ago I built my first walk-n-work desk. As a software engineer, I sit for a living…or maybe I sit to my death. In any case I had back problems early on which were identified by doctors, chiropractors, and massage therapists alike as “sitting injuries”. So – I bought a treadmill and built a desk around it. I walked 3-4 hours a day while working. As a telecommuter I was fortunate to be able to do this. Combined with a reasonable diet and absolutely no other exercise, I lost around 35 pounds. I thought I might start a business making things like this for companies who cared about ergonomics and health! Well…things broke down, I didn’t start a company. I moved and didn’t bring it with me…etc. Gained a bunch of weight back. Developed worsening back problems, neck problems, shoulder and wrist problems, gout, high blood pressure… The worst of it was, a friend of mine responding to my gout, said “ah, rich mans disease.” I realize it’s an old saying, but I was still offended. By american standards I’m perhaps upper middle class but not rich, and even at upper middle class wages I have a very middle class lifestyle. But – he was right. Historically it was a rich mans disease. High fat foods, sedentary lifestyle…gout happens. My doctor said the best cure he had for gout was me losing weight. It isn’t that I’m a big fat gluttonous slug (mostly…I do like some cake now and then), it’s that watching my calories, cutting out soda and most sweets, stopping when I’m full, all of it doesn’t much help. Sitting for a living leaves me heavy getting heavier. I noticed the stand up desk explosion happening at several companies. It seemed like the up/down desk and my old friend the treadmill desk were taking off. I really should look into what is out there. I told a friend I was ordering one and he laughed loudly. Ridiculous! He is also a software developer. I told him there was real danger in sitting for a living. “Bah. Pseudoscience at best I’m sure!” So I went a-looking, and I came across the initiative for this “fad”. Apparently some clever scientists actually studied the problem, and, shockingly, learned that sitting is bad for our health. Of course in some way we knew that, but HOW bad… http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sitting-disease/MY02177 On Sitting: 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting a day 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV On Living: If Americans would cut their sitting time in half, their life expectancy would increase by roughly: 2 years (by reducing sitting to less than 3 hours a day) 1.4 years (by reducing TV time to less than 2 hours a day) Some typical media-ified content on the matter – http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/confirmed-he-who-sits-the-most-dies-the-soonest/256101/# and here is the actual science it references: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108810 Here’s a punch line – exercise doesn’t really help – “…demonstrates that inactive participants with high levels of sitting had the highest mortality rate, and the strong relationship of increased sitting time to mortality persisted, even among participants with relatively high levels of physical activity. ” So – you can’t just do the gym thing an hour here or there. You actually have to GET UP out of the damn chair, and stand or walk. Since sitting burns 5/cal/hr, and standing only burns 15/cal/hr, I figure walking is the best option. That gets you >100/cal/hr – so in an 8 hour day you can burn 40, 120, or 1000+ calories, your choice. I find that I can’t REALLY walk 8 hours a day. But I can walk a lot. Anything is better than what I used to do. And the real kicker is this: I have better focus, concentration, and interest in what I am doing. Probably more blood to the brain or something, but, yay walk-n-work. Some other articles if you are interested: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61031-9/abstract http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-18876880 http://www.americashealthrankings.org/all/sedentary http://www.lifespanfitness.com/workplacesolutions-treadmill-desk-and-bike-desk-research.html

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