Sitting down for more than three hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by two years, even if he or she is physically active and refrains from dangerous habits like smoking.
After reading too many posts on some favorite blogs about how sitting is worse than cigarettes, I’ve recently turned my desks into standing desks (using materials I had on hand; I only trust health recommendations if they’re free). Sitting a lot is probably, maybe definitely very bad for you. But that’s all based on multiple studies that show sitting for more than 3-4 hours a day takes years off your life. So I’m wondering.
How the fuck do you sit for less than 3 hours a day?
I used to work in a kitchen, be on my feet for almost the entire 8-12 hours I’d work. When I got home, I sat down. So even when I was working long hours at a job spent entirely on my feet, I was sitting more than 3 hours a day. If you eat three short (20 min.) meals, you’re sitting for at least an hour a day. If you have a commute, you’re sitting for at least a hour a day. Meditating, reading, playing piano – those are all healthy, productive things I do for several hours a day that involve sitting. Is that bad for me now? And what about lying down – that’s even less active than sitting. But most people lie down when they sleep, and most people sleep for more than 3 hours a day. So are you saying I should sleep instead of sit? That seems like a worse use of my body and time. What if you sleep 3 hours more than most people, does that take two years off too? If I slept 3 hours less that would also be bad for my health.
I’m using standing desks because my logical brain says that yes, standing is probably better than sitting. But my logical brain also realizes that actually worrying about sitting more than 3 hours a day is probably less healthy than just being ok with your life.