July 1st, 2011
09:13 AM ET
Last week I wrote – while standing up – an article about how sitting for hours carries negative health consequences. Then I sat down. Soon after that, I walked to another floor of the CNN Center.
The freedom to mix it up like that makes me a happier person, and I’m so grateful to have those options. I feel unleashed from the chair when its comfort spoils into inertia, and then welcomed back when my legs want a break.
Medical studies like the ones appearing every day on The Chart are exciting because they inform us about the best practices and the potential for living healthier and longer lives. Still, every study is ultimately just evidence, and individuals have to reach conclusions about what to do.
For me, I never thought much about the chair either way until I was truly bound to it. My first job out of college was floor directing in the studio for HLN’s talented Robin Meade. That’s an active job for an active show. I was always on my feet – shouting to Robin how much time she had left until suddenly the camera’s red light would flash on, and her smile would arrive in all those homes.
After that, my next job required sitting at a desk, and for the first time in my life I wasn’t walking across a campus every couple of hours, or standing in a TV studio. For me, it wasn’t a matter of weighing scientific evidence; my body told me loud and clear: Get up from your chair!
The sitting article drew a lot of comments and a lot of page views, so here are some highlights:
“People in the developed nations especially here in the U.S. have become so sedentary. I walk to my supermarket, a round trip is about 3 miles, and when I tell people this they gasp.” – odioustoilet
“Damage cannot be undone by exercise? How much exercise? Walking for twenty minutes or Ironman Triathlon training? Most people don’t get enough exercise, so I question this conclusion.” – NGNHTAY
PaulMc111878’s answer helps clarify the findings for NGNHTAY:
“The finding is that sitting for long periods of time makes you vulnerable to a short life, REGARDLESS of how much you otherwise exercise...The trick is to REDUCE the amount of time spent sitting, not just exercise when you’re not sitting.” – PaulMc111878
Another commenter points out the difficulty of making changes to some work environments:
“As a pilot I don’t think I work in the kind of environment that would allow a treadmill-hybrid workstation, but I would love to see them try to install that in a cockpit.” – txgi307
Ditto for bus and truck drivers.
“OMG. I would love to have one of those treadmill computer holder things at work. We’re tied to our computers umbilical cord for 8 hours cause it’s a phone center. That would be awesome and so helpful.” – MissAlex01
“After doing IT for 16+ years, that’s one of the main reasons I’m going back to school to get a degree in Kinesiology. I just couldn’t take sitting by a desk anymore.” – Guest
“Can anyone locate the said study? I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks for providing a link CNN. Guess we should all take ACS and CNN’s word for it instead of being able to see it ourselves. Awesome.” – spfalk
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.