News flash! Sitting is really really bad for you. As bad, if not worse than SMOKING! I hear that the longer you sit during the course of a day, the closer you get to developing some scary diseases. Great. Another insurmountable frightening and impossible dilemma, that people have to either ignore, laugh at, or deal with. The news flash says “one must get up and walk around every hour for at least ten minutes” in order to keep out of the danger zone. It doesn’t explain how you tell your boss why you keep jumping up and walking around for no obvious reason, it just says that you better do it OR ELSE you are in for a world of pain!
But this is not the real issue is it? This sitting/standing conundrum. Isn’t this just the new “thing” the media has invented to screw with people’s heads, scare them Again, and throw them into a confused tailspin of anxiety????? No Shit Sherlock. Why has it taken all these years to figure this out if it’s soooo important to one’s health? A six year old can tell you that walking will expend more calories than sitting, or that standing, positions your body into a different form, or that lethargy is not that great for anyone-hence the old school term “couch potato” nothing new there.
Interesting how the old becomes new and the new gets old. Computer use in business and the home has made sitting for hours at a time a given. It has created a “sitting culture.” That’s NEW. OLD is the idea that walking and standing, moving ones body is good for you! According to the recent news science gurus, doctors have recently discovered that sitting can KILL you. Oh, please, let’s break this down even more. Like for instance why NOW? So many dangerous things for us to contemplate. Right? Smoking, booze, drugs, air, water, food, chemicals of all varieties, dust, weather, people, politics, sex, the list is endless, and now add to it “sitting!” Wow.
Many professionals have to sit as part of their professional pursuits. For hours. Most of us get up naturally to stretch our legs, walk around as part of our day, but not as a regimented fear -based routine. Or because it’s the cool thing to do. Or because Sanjay Gupta said so. So does this mean that in the workplace chairs should be removed for part of the day, as a forced requirement to get people healthier??
Is sitting now passe, like the pay phone booth, gas lighting, and the horse and buggy? Going the way of vinyl, script, the Dewey Decimal System, paperback books, cd’s, letter writing, do we now include sitting? Sitting becoming that old fashioned thing we used to do! Now we stand! It will become the new cool, the new black, the “what’s In” the kale, the wheatgrass, the big butt, the tattoo, the fedora, the ombré hair, the Williamsburg, latest hippest hottest! It may sound bizarre, but many things that once seemed to be permanent fixtures of society have disappeared, remembered only by old folks.
But we know that it’s about the future. The past is history. Sitting it seems is getting old school. It is getting some bad rep. Jogging, gym use, spinning classes, being fit, has increasingly become the norm. It’s only the sluggish, uninformed, un disciplined who haven’t figured out their sport of choice, their thing they do that keeps them upright. Vertical is hip. Horizontal – not so much. And now it’s confirmed by the experts, which gives it instant credibility!
Writers sit. A lot. Painters stand. A lot. Chefs, stand. Always. Musicians both sit and stand. Potters sit. Gurus sit. Cat Stevens, now, Yusuf Islam sings about “Sitting”. “Sitting on my own not by myself, everyone’s here with me” he states the obvious, but then goes on to recant that “we’re right back where we started from”. Hmmm. History. Most jobs will involve a standing -sitting balance occurring naturally during the course of a day. It’s not a big deal. But when we are told by society’s powers that be, that suddenly it IS a big deal! Stop sitting! Then it becomes a very different situation. In corporate, the business world, in tech jobs, and more. So what’s the answer? New office spaces designed for standing room only? Used to be that was the punishment for not affording a theatre ticket, or getting to the show late after everyone was seated! It could be that it is the new normal. The new black. The new cool thing. We don’t want to get caught sitting after all it’s NOT GOOD FOR YOU!
When I think of life in a World where standing, walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping become the way to go, the healthy, cutting edge standard, it’s not such a far out concept. We could reach that reality, sooner rather than later! It’s no different from the recent taboos focused on – red meat, soda, asbestos, eggs, cigarettes, water, fruit juice, veal….the list goes on and on.
Back in the day so to speak, due to practical necessity, people used their bodies in an upright, mobile functional way out of need, not desire. One had to farm, to hunt, to walk, to run, to climb, to carry, to build. Physical activity was never an option. It was Necessity! If you wanted to eat! Today’s ultimate uber technological conveniences have made us lazy, passive, and dumbed down. It is progress, but the potential of it could be very problematic. As we become intellectually more defendant on machines, the new shortcut to thinking, we also spend more time sitting, as we stare at the screen, our contemporary social, professional, economical lifeline. This covers all professions, art being up there. A push of a button, and the graphic artist creates. This is so far removed from the master photographers Brassai, or Man Ray, Arbus, Steichen, toiling away for hours in their prehistoric dark rooms, waiting for the magic to do its work and reveal the photo waiting to appear from the chemicals. Digital makes that process obsolete. It’s fast, functional, and perfection is the goal. It’s the way today!
Just like Sitting. It’s the way today.
So, stand, get up, STAND, get going, don’t be a slacker, because, After all, if Sitting is the New Smoking, then – Standing Is the New Black!