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The Hidden Threat Of The Chair-Based Lifestyle

In a world where we sit in chairs and stare at screens all day, with work extending itself into the night, our sedentary lifestyles continue to grow....

Lisa Baldini
Lisa Baldini on April 21, 2011.

In a world where we sit in chairs and stare at screens all day, with work extending itself into the night, our sedentary lifestyles continue to grow. But could this very act of sitting shorten our lifespan? This is the question posed by Dr. James Levine in his research about how obesity factors into our lives. Going off the fact that self-reporting isn’t always accurate, Levine sought to design a study that monitored movement in the office using motion tracking underwear. His big conclusion?

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”

While this may be no surprise to many of us, Levine sees the act of sitting as being a far more problematic activity, with the potential to affect a country’s morale:

For all of the hard science against sitting, he admits that his campaign against what he calls “the chair-based lifestyle” is not limited to simply a quest for better physical health. His is a war against inertia itself, which he believes sickens more than just our body. “Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day,” he said. “The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it’s time for the soul of the nation to rise.”

New York Times: “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?”

Image by : Damien

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Lisa Baldini is a regular contributor to PSFK.com. As a student of Graham Harwood, Luciana Parisi, and Matthew Fuller, Lisa's interest in technology lies in how culture is changed from the bottom up through history, materiality, databases, user experience, and affective computing. A student of social media marketing, she sees how people try to engage consumers through technology and how much failure is at hand by misunderstanding the medium. A teacher at heart, she writes and curates in an effort to link the knowledge derived between the academic, art, and business worlds.

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