Your chair is trying to kill you...

Your chair is trying to kill you...

Summary: Two studies have shown that the longer you sit, the sooner you'll die... Exercise won't protect you.

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TOPICS: CXO, Security
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You might be pleased with that cool looking Aeron chair your buns are nestled in — but it's nothing but a stylish killer.

Recent studies have shown that the amount of time you spend sitting raises your risk of dying. Sit more, die sooner.

An Australian study of 8,800 people over a six year period found that for each hour spent sitting increased the risk of death from heart disease by one-fifth.

It can't be long before US lawyers begin filing class-action lawsuits against well-heeled chair makers, for not warning innocent sitters that they are risking their lives.

In the near future, you might be required to sign wavers that you understand the risks before being able to buy a chair, or sit in an office chair.

Exercise doesn't help...

Take a look at this Canadian study:

. . .a study published last year that tracked more than 17,000 Canadians for about a dozen years, researchers found people who sat more had a higher death risk, independently of whether or not they exercised.

But is it fair to blame the chair?

Yes, because how else would you sit? Without a chair or its equivalent in a stool, or couch, or easy chair — you'd have to squat. People have been squatting since year dot and we've evolved to squat. It's the chair that's a relatively modern introduction into our environment.

I'm looking at getting a desk at which you can stand and still get your work done.

No one yet has made a desk at which you can squat but dibs on that idea. An office full of 'squatters' might look strange but it'll be a healthy office.

Topics: CXO, Security

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28 comments
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  • Saw this last night and was puzzled

    So all the delivery guys are living longer than the office people? People who are standing out in the fields harvesting are living longer than the people who sit while on the phone or in front of a keyboard? I'm not completely buying that.

    This whole theory raised more questions than it answered, in my mind.
    ejhonda
    • RE: Your chair is trying to kill you...

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  • Squatters' rights?

    [i]"An office full of 'squatters' might look strange but it'll be a healthy office."[/i]

    Actually, no. It has been shown that deep knee-bend exercises are harmful to the knee joints, and squatting for long periods is quite similar.

    HOWEVER ... about 5 years ago I had horrendous pains in my mid-back, it felt like there was a knife in my back. I went to see a chiropractor and when he saw I'm a lawyer, he asked, "Do you work at a computer most of the time?" I said yes. He said, "Do you sit like this?" and he [b][i]exactly[/i][/b] copied my posture--leaning forward a bit to look at the screen.

    I responded, "Yes, how did you know?" He said, "I have four other patients who are lawyers and [b][i]all[/i][/b] of them have that problem. That posture puts tremendous strain on the mid-back spine (directly behind the stomach)." It turned out that that long-term strain had caused a herniated disk.
    Rick_R
    • Actually no

      "Actually, no. It has been shown that deep knee-bend exercises are
      harmful to the knee joints, and squatting for long periods is quite
      similar."

      No it has not. This myth was probably first put forward by Dr. Karl
      Klein (Texas, 1961) and was merely speculation. A wealth of data from
      actual studies over the past 30 years has not only failed to corroborate
      this opinion, but has thorgoughly refuted it. There is no indication that
      deep knee squats, even those beyond parallel, pose ANY significant
      increase in incidence of knee injury.

      In fact, what the data DOES show is that the old adage to "sit up
      straight" is very detrimental, putting undue strain on the core postural
      muscles. The data show that the optimal position for comfort and
      minimal strain is 135? from horizontal, leaning back in a chair at 45?.
      (In other words, slouch!) In short, there is little surprising in this study
      at all, and it only serves to highlight what has been known in the
      field for several decades.

      Chandler, T.J., Wilson, G.D., & Stone, M.H., The effect of the squat
      exercise on knee stability. Medicine and Science in Sports and
      Exercise, 21(3), 1989.

      Chandler, T.J., & Stone, M.H., The squat exercise in athletic
      conditioning: a review of the literature. National Strength and
      Conditioning Association Journal, 13(5), 1991.

      Grimek, J.C., Is the squat really dangerous? Strength and Health, June,
      1963.

      Manariello, R.A., Backus, S.L., & Parker, J.E., The effect of the squat
      exercise on anterior-posterior knee translation in professional
      football players. American Journal of Sports medicine, 22(6), 1994.

      Wilk, K.E., Escamilla, R.F., Fleisig, G.S.,Barrentine, S.W., Andrews, J.R.,
      & Boyd, M.L., A comparison of the tibiofemoral joint forces and
      electromyographic activity during open and closed chain kinetic.
      American Journal of Sports Medicine. 24, 1996.
      SpiritusInMachina
  • Wha??? Something's screwed up

    [b][i]Each hour??[/i][/b] increases risk by 20%?? That mean just 8 hours would increase risk by 429%!!!!!!!! (6/5 to the 8th power)

    Somebody has badly misquoted the report. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the original source. Anyone have a link?

    And shame on you Tom! Your math can't be so bad a simple miscalculation like that doesn't jump out at you.
    Takalok
    • innumeracy

      There is nothing wrong with the math. Statistics do not work like that.

      If you start with a value of 10%, or ten out of one hundred, and increase
      it by 20%, that gives a value of 12%. (20% of 10% is 2%.) If you then add
      another 20%, you have a value of 14.4%. Another hour gives you 17.28%.
      SpiritusInMachina
      • No, the math I put forth is correct

        10% after 8 hours jumps to 42.9%, which is a 429% increase in chances.

        Take your own example and run the numbers. The formula is:

        x * (1 + p) ^ n where
        x is the chance of disease
        p is the percentage increase in risk
        n is the period

        So 10% * (1.2 ^ 8) = 42.9%
        A 429% increase in the probability.

        That's whacked.
        Takalok
  • RE: Your chair is trying to kill you...

    There has got to be more to this story. Even if they exercised they were still affected? Considering that a ton of people are sitting at their desks right now, including high school and college students...does this mean we're all doomed?

    James Todd
    Publisher: BuildMySiteforFree.com
    jamesbmsff
  • Woo Hoo!

    Heck! Should have seen it coming!!
    kmashraf
  • A relationship is not necessarily a causal one.

    99% of all "studies" fail to complete their task: find a causal relationship. Instead they just dump 'relations' into the public, and news-lacking 'journalists' are complicit - they then dump it on the public.

    Same here. This sitting-death relationship is utter nonsense. Nothing in the blog indicates that there is a causal relationship. END OF STORY.

    We need:
    1. Real science.
    2. Real journalists.

    Instead of:
    2. Junk scientists.
    2. Lazy journalists.
    frank0som
    • I agree

      These studies can be done so poorly. Did they ever consider that maybe people who like to sit a lot aren't healthy to begin with, and are sitting because they aren't the types to live forever? I wonder if you took some of these couch potatoes and made them stand up all the time if they'd really live longer? I doubt it!
      sploar
      • Lets disregard plenty of other factors

        This is like a study that says asians are cleverer
        in the classroom. Just because one is asian, it
        doesn't automatically mean they get into the
        clever group immediately, it's down to hard work
        too.

        Unless the study looked at diet, lifestyle,
        underlying health problems, family history, you
        can't take any of it seriously.
        jingyeow
        • Lazy

          "This is like a study that says asians are cleverer
          in the classroom. "

          Um, no it is not.

          "Unless the study looked at diet, lifestyle,
          underlying health problems, family history, you
          can't take any of it seriously."

          What do you mean, "unless the study looked at... ?"
          Are you really that lazy that you both fail to bother to look up the
          actual study to see if it controlled for these variables, as well as so
          presumptive to assume that all useful information, to the contrary of
          all indications, was presented in this poor, cursory overview put forth
          in this blog?

          In short, you are in NO position to be making ANY declarative
          comments about this study.
          SpiritusInMachina
      • statistics

        agreed. the most important step in conducting any experiment is to eliminate bias. that is if you care for effective results
        Carl Stevens
    • You might want to check yourself into the latter list

      "99% of all "studies" fail to complete their task: find a causal
      relationship"

      And 84.78% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Feel free to post
      a citation showing how I am wrong here, and that your 99% value was
      not pulled straight from your backside.

      "Instead they just dump 'relations' into the public, and news-lacking
      'journalists' are complicit - they then dump it on the public."

      How would you know what the study authors were doing? While the
      journalism may be shoddy here, I see no indication that you made any
      effort at all to locate, let alone read the actual study, so you are in no
      position to be proffering your opinion.

      "Same here. This sitting-death relationship is utter nonsense"

      Pot, meet kettle. You have NO basis for this statement AT ALL.

      "Nothing in the blog indicates that there is a causal relationship. END
      OF STORY."

      Um, no. The "blog" was not the study. Acting as if it were just shows
      how lazy you are. Add yourself to your latter list. "2. [sic] Lazy blog
      readers" (and yes, reusing the number 2 was intentional.)

      What we need is:
      3. Real scientifically literate members of the public who know how to
      properly read studies, identify dependent and independent variables,
      and analyze study methods, and who are not so lazy as to offer
      critiques without having actually read the study in question.
      SpiritusInMachina
      • Oh yeah?

        "Real scientifically literate members of the
        public who know how to properly read studies,
        identify dependent and independent variables,
        and analyze study methods, and who are not so
        lazy as to offer critiques without having
        actually read the study in question."

        Yeah sure, but I barely made it through the
        first half of the blog post (I couldn't be
        bothered to read the second half, it was too
        many words), how do you expect me to muddle my
        way through a whole great, big, study?

        Besides, I was educated in a public school, I
        can barely read, much less understand basic
        math and science.

        Maybe what we need is something like
        factcheck.org for the media. Oh, wait, the
        media is supposed to check facts for me, isn't
        that the fifth estates whole freaking job?

        I'm going to create a newspaper that is just
        the headlines, no articles, just headlines.
        That should be enough news for most people.
        caspianhiro
        • ZDNet

          Well, all that presupposes that sites like ZDNet employ actual journalists!
          Most of us gave up on that fantasy a long time ago. Sad, but even the
          mainstream media is being dragged down this vortex into the cesspool.

          As for your newspaper, it is called USA Today.
          SpiritusInMachina
  • citing the original source journal article

    This article links back to "The Independent" in
    the UK. That article cites its source journal,
    so it wouldn't have been too hard to go to the
    journal's web site, search on "sitting" and get
    to the original article, which is unlocked and
    available as:

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULA
    TIONAHA.109.894824v1?
    maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fullte
    xt=sitting&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=dat
    e&resourcetype=HWCIT
    dakra137
    • Shush you!

      But it's so much more fun to just make stuff up!
      SpiritusInMachina
    • *Looking* at the original article ...

      The topic was the connection between *television viewing* and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Here is a quote, from the Conclusion:

      "Conclusions:
      These findings indicate that television viewing time is associated with an increased risk of all-cause and CVD mortality. Although continued emphasis on current public health guidelines
      on the importance of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise should remain, our findings suggest that reducing time spent watching television (and possibly other prolonged sedentary behaviors) may also be of benefit in preventing CVD and premature death."

      - so your office chair is much less likely to be the culprit than your sofa!

      This quote will probably clear up most of the other questions:

      "CLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
      The findings from this large, national population?based cohort study indicate that 6-year mortality rates from all causes and from cardiovascular disease causes are significantly higher with increased television viewing time in adults. Each 1-hour increment in television viewing time was found to be associated with an 11% and an 18% increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, respectively. Furthermore, relative to those watching less television (<2 h/d), there was a 46% increased risk of all-cause and an 80% increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in those watching >4 hours of television per day, which were independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diet, as well as leisure-time exercise and waist circumference. Although continued emphasis on current public health guidelines on the importance of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise should remain, these findings suggest that reducing time spent watching television (*and possibly other prolonged sedentary behaviors* - my emphasis) may also be of benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease and premature death. Furthermore, these findings suggest that in clinical practice and public health settings, questions about television viewing time (particularly identifying whether individuals watch >4 h/d) may assist in identifying those with elevated mortality risk."

      The study was done on 8800 people in Australia, and was published in "Circulation", a Journal of the American Heart Association.

      The way it was presented in this post actually did more harm than good, I think, by oversimplifying, etc. Perhaps this extra information will help a more balanced view.

      N
      NaomiH