April 28, 2012

The science of sitting.

We all know — don't we? — that sitting too much isn't healthy. (I love my motorized sit-stand desk, which I demonstrate here.) I'm interested in reading the science of sitting, and there's some good material here, but the family life part of it kind of annoyed me:
In [one study], researchers determined that watching an hour of television can snip 22 minutes from someone’s life. If an average man watched no TV in his adult life, the authors concluded, his life span might be 1.8 years longer, and a TV-less woman might live for a year and half longer than otherwise. 
So I canceled our cable, leaving my 14-year-old son staggered. I’d deprived him of his favorite shows on The Food Network, a channel that, combined with sitting, explains much about the American waistline. (Thankfully, my son is blessed with his father’s lanky, string-bean physique.)
1. Did you take his books away too? What if he were willing to watch TV standing up? It seems to me this anti-TV agenda is wholly separate. Maybe you have some other reason for canceling cable, but this is bad science (and kind of a mean thing to do to the kid, but you report it as if it was funny to "stagger" him).

2. You inform us that America is fat, but your son and husband are skinny. Insults + bragging = annoying.

31 comments:

Henry said...

So it sounds like the trade is one hour of enjoyment for 22 minutes of decrepitude.

Would you trade a dollar today for 22 cents in 50 years?

I know I know. I don't even own a television.

But people who do seem to like it.

Sorun said...

If I was that kid, I'd just stand around and stare at my mother until she got the cable back.

Em said...

I have found a solution to this problem that works great for me. It is a FitDesk that allows me to use my laptop, play games, read books, kindel or magazines while getting mild exercise. Take a look at fitdesk.net.

Peter said...

14-year-old boys watch the Food Network?

Bender said...

"Oh, yes, sitting. The great leveler. From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?"

Bender said...

Rumsfeld had a standing desk at the Pentagon.

Bob K said...

Maybe boredom just makes it seem your life has been extended by 22 minutes when your power goes out for an hour during prime viewing time.

Lem said...

Stephen Hawking better get off his ass.

Richard Dolan said...

"The science of sitting."

Hmmm. The philosophy of sitting sounds more appealing.

crosspatch said...

I think getting rid of the microwave and ready-to-eat frozen stuff from the freezer would be more effective at reducing waistlines and extending lives.

You can eat whatever you want, but you have to make it from scratch.

Get rid of the cordless phone, too. Use the one that is bolted to a wall. Oh, and the tv remover, out with that, too.

crosspatch said...

Meant "tv remote"

Jay Vogt said...

OK, up front, this is absolutely off topic. But, has anyone else been as creeped-out on this blog, as I've been lately?

Over the past two days, we been presented with posts on giant cannibal shrimp, revenge by extraneous dentistry, testicular mutilation, necrophilia, the legal writings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and infanticide.

I'm not sure that I'm up for much more work on this vein.

I haven't been this upset since I attended the the brunch reception for the debut screening of "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife And Her Lover".

Henry said...

If you really want to save the kid from sitting, pull him out of school and send him to the fields.

yashu said...

The Food Network? Isn't that channel mostly cooking shows (or, at least as much about cooking as about eating)?

A boy interested in cooking-- how is that a bad thing? (One thing I love about contemporary culture, the glamorous rock-star aura of the chef. I love men who love to cook.)

I mean after all, chefs (whether amateur or pro)-- and people who love to cook in general-- spend a lot of time on their feet.

edutcher said...

So if the TV-less man sits on the sofa and the TV-less woman sits on his lap and they end up laying on the sofa, is that healthy or not?

Or do they both have to stand TV-less?

Bender said...

Rumsfeld had a standing desk at the Pentagon.

I think the Romster has found his SecDef.

Henry said...

If that kid becomes a line chef he won't sit down for decades.

Ann Althouse said...

@Jay Vogt Thanks for the question. I made a new post out of it.

Hope you don't find that... creepy!

Greg Hlatky said...

You inform us that America is fat, but your son and husband are skinny. Insults + bragging = annoying.

When I read that I knew, before rolling on the link, that it had to be from the New York Times.

wyo sis said...

I entertain myself when the power is out by thinking of things to do and then going to do them before realizing they require power.

Ralph L said...

I surf recumbent on the sofa, like Signora Neroni in Barchester Towers, but with as few clothes as possible and no beefy servants to haul me around.

I'm 6'2" and 160 lbs, the heaviest I've ever been.

Stephen K. said...

"Insults + bragging = annoying."

It's similar to the humble brag. It goes like this:

As a woman with big boobs, you should be happy you don't have the problem of guys staring at them all the time. I sometimes wish I had smaller boobs.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

What crap. When I'm at work I'm constantly on my feet, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, for eight hours a day. When I get home I sit. If I didn't, I think that would make my life shorter. Moderation in all things, for Christ's sake.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

wyo sis said...

I entertain myself when the power is out by thinking of things to do and then going to do them before realizing they require power.


Hah. I do the same thing. The power goes out, and the first thing I think of doing is killing time by watching TV.

Carol said...

"As a woman with big boobs, you should be happy you don't have the problem of guys staring at them all the time.

That doesn't make sense. Do men stare at women with big boobs or don't they?

Joan said...

Tyrone - ha! My 15yo son got on my case the other day when I told him he shouldn't spend so much time sitting in front of his video games. "What do you do all day, Mom?" I had to remind him that I'm in front of a classroom all day, teaching -- that my day at school, as a teacher, is nothing like his day at school, as a student, where he is expected to sit through all his classes. I rarely sit down during my work day. I think it's extending my life, and certainly it's reducing the guilt I have if I park my butt on the couch to spend 3 or 4 hours reading "Game of Thrones" in the evenings.

Freeman Hunt said...

Does it follow from the science that you must cancel your cable?

No.

But a mean thing to do to your kid?

Ha!

Step out of the stream of popular culture, leave it behind, and you find there's an entire world. Land, rivers, oceans. Whole modes of thinking that popular culture suppresses.

Remove TV, checkout stand magazines, video games, crummy music, and all the rest of it from a kid's life, and you've opened the universe to him. Rats in a maze think that if you block off certain hallways, you're limiting. Get out of the maze! It's such a tiny place!

!!!

Not that I have strong feelings about it or anything.

Canuck said...

"But a mean thing to do to your kid?

Ha!"

Agreed!

Anyways, kids get grumpy when they stay inside and watch too much T.V.

Joe said...

I make a shit load of money sitting on my ass in front of a flat screen.

Joe said...

Another thought; a report recently came out that showed the number of accidental deaths amongst those under twenty is down significantly. Perhaps, it's because kids are staying home and playing computer games instead of driving around drunk or doing crazy shit like driving off the edge of sand pits, blowing things up and setting fires. (I deny doing all of this and launching rockets sideways.)

Leon said...

Yea I don't own a TV either.

In [one study], researchers determined that watching an hour of television can snip 22 minutes from someone’s life

Seems those "researchers" weren't very good at math. By my calculations watching one hour of TV snips 60 minutes from your life. Read Althouse instead much more edifying.

TheThinMan said...

Cancel cable? All she had to do was not watch her TV, then there would be no side effect of upsetting her son: to each his own! But liberals always have to have general prohibitions: no smoking, even outside or in your apt. or car, no salt, no trans fats, no toys with Happy Meals...