ExerciseFitnessStrength Training

Stand Up and Move Your Rear


You don’t need to pay for a gym membership, let alone have to wait to actually go to the gym.

You don’t have to find a special time in your already-packed schedule.

Just get up off your seat!


The evidence continues to accumulate. The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION just published an article on a new study, which concludes:

Sitting all day at work increases your risk of all-cause mortality (that is, dying for any reason) by 16%.

We’re Talking About the Sitting Problem, but Not Standing Up to It

Recent studies show that on average Americans spend over half their waking hours in a sitting position.

Because We Spend So Much Time at Work, Much Risk is Occupationally-Related


The recent study followed over 480,000 subjects for around thirteen years. Their average age was 39. 

When they joined the study group, none of the participants displayed any signs of cardiovascular health problems. The researchers obtained a lot of data about how much the participants moved at work, their lifestyles and their leisure time activities.

For their occupational sitting, they were divided into three groups: (mostly sitting, alternating sitting and standing, and mostly not sitting).

During the period of the study, 26,257 of the participants died. The researchers adjusted the odds of these deaths based on such risk factors as sex, education, age, drinking, smoking, BMI and drinking.  

With this analysis, the study showed that occupations demanding lots of sitting increased the odds of premature death from any cause by 16%.


Outside Movement Can Lower Risk

It takes 15 to 30 minutes of light or moderate physical activity outside of work to make up for the risk of spending most of your working day in a chair. Do that, and your risk goes down to about the same level as people who don’t exercise, but whose jobs require them to keep moving most of the day.


An Immediate Danger

That’s deep vein thrombosis.

When you sit for long periods, your calf muscles are unable to squeeze your leg arteries to drive blood back up into your torso, resulting in poor blood circulation.

That can lead to blood clots. They develop in your legs, then break loose and wind up in your lungs. Although you may have never heard of deep vein thrombosis, experts estimate it causes 100,000 deaths in the United States every year.

You’re most at risk of deep vein thrombosis when you go on long flights of seven or more hours.

President Richard Nixon’s deep vein thrombosis made headlines soon after he resigned. 

Nixon was no doubt in poor physical condition and certainly stressed out.

But deep vein thrombosis has also struck athlete Serena Williams.


Symptoms may include pain, warmth in the affected leg and swelling. The risk continues for up to two weeks after you’ve completed an extended airplane flight.

If you’re over 75 years old, your risk is much higher than for those under 40, but nobody is totally safe.


If you take any long airplane rides:

* When the seatbelt sign is off, stand up every so often – at least once every ten minutes. If you can, walk up and down the aisle a few times.

* Wear compression socks to keep blood flowing to and from your legs.

* If you can find the room and position, elevate your feet.


For Most of Us, the Gravest Long-Term Danger is Simply Sitting Too Long

We need the money, but jobs that require us to sit a lot are also raising our risk of dying.

Unless you’re chained to your chair, stand up – at least for a few minutes – at least once every thirty minutes.

That’s why I said this doesn’t have to be difficult.


Reducing your all-cause mortality doesn’t depend on running a marathon or deadlifting your body’s weight.

That takes a lot of time and energy. If that’s what you want, fine. But, really, all it takes to mitigate your risk of dying is to stand up and move every half an hour or more.

You don’t need a swimming pool or expensive athletic shoes. Just watch your favorite Netflix shows while standing up.

Invest a hundred bucks or so in an exercise bicycle, and you can sit and move at the same time – while watching the show.


I believe the current mainstream-thinking emphasis on going to the gym is harmful because it encourages people to believe they can’t “exercise” unless they’re using a machine.

That’s a hassle for most of us, so we use not having the money and/or time and/or desire to go to the gym as a handy excuse to sit on the couch.


The real solution – at work and at home – is just to get up, and take some steps. Consult with a colleague. Take out the trash. Visit a neighbor.

You can even sit up and down a few times. That’ll get your blood circulating more freely, and you haven’t even left your desk.

I’m personally not fond of stand-up desks, especially the kind hooked up to a treadmill. When I’m actually studying/researching/writing/editing/thinking, I want to remain physically motionless. But if you can work at a chest-high desk while walking, go for it.

If you perform any kind of modern knowledge or creative work, your boss should allow you to move around as need-be, or even to leave the office for walks.


When I return from a long walk, I often have an idea that solves a problem. At the very least, with my blood flowing freely, my brain is getting more blood, which means more oxygen and more glucose – which makes me more productive.