I recently read this article about how sitting all day is really bad for you. It listed the usual reasons like standing burns more calories, muscle metabolism changes, and you are at increased risk for various cancers. To top it all off, each hour of sitting results in a loss of 21.8 minutes from your life expectancy. Seeing as how I've been sitting most of my life, I probably have minutes to live.
After crunching some numbers, it's fair to assume that I've lost over four years of my life expectancy. I knew I had to put a stop to it. Not only that, I had to figure out how to get those four years back before it was too late. So I decided to alter my habits and keep a diary to hold myself accountable:
Friday July 11
4:00 p.m. Let's get started!
4:01 p.m. Since I've already been sitting here for the last six hours, we'll just wait and start the diary tomorrow.
Saturday July 12
11:00 a.m. Stood in my office thinking about my next blog post.
11:20 a.m. Sat down to write blog post then realized since it takes about an hour to write one, I'm sacrificing 22 minutes of my life for my dear readers. I hope you appreciate it, all five of you.
11:25 a.m. Decide to take a walk to offset my sitting problem. Walk to refrigerator and pour myself a glass of wine. Maybe alcohol isn't the best choice for my new lifestyle, but I believe it greatly improves my mental outlook so that offsets any bad effects from sitting.
11:26 a.m. Try to stand and type my blog. I do not have a standing desk. Ouch, there goes my back. I take a sip of wine.
11:30 a.m. A brilliant idea! Some exercise should get me some time back on the lifetime clock. I get on a stationary bike and start pedaling. But now there's a new problem: although I am exercising, I'm still sitting down, so the two acts just cancel each other out. I've got it! I take my laptop and get back on bike. Although I'm not gaining any time, I'm not wasting 22 minutes of life writing this blog.
11:32 a.m. Sweat starts dripping onto my laptop. I'm now worried about getting eletrocuted. I put laptop back on my desk and get back on bike.
11:34 a.m. This is boring. I get my glass of wine and sip wine while riding stationary bike.
11:45 a.m. Lunch time! Prepare a big healthy salad of spinach and spring mix. Pour half a bottle of bleu cheese dressing on it.
11:57 a.m. Maybe that salad wasn't so big as I'm still hungry. I fix a large plate of bacon (it's okay, I'm on a low carb diet and can eat all the bacon I want).
12:15 p.m. I happen to glance in the pantry to see a bag of Fritos. I grab a handful, but I eat them while standing. Unfortunately, you can't have just a handful of Fritos. I take the entire bag out. But I walk around the block while eating the bag. I'm starting to get the hang of this.
12:45 p.m. Feeling a little sleepy. Decide to take a nap. That article said nothing bad about laying down or sleeping.
2:30 p.m. St. Pauli Girl hands me a grocery list. The store is too far away to walk to but I really hate the thought of sitting while driving to the store. While driving, I open the window and poke my head outside the window. I believe that trying to keep my head still against the speed of the car offsets the sitting in the seat. I stop at a traffic light with my head still outside the window. A dog in the car next to me pokes his head out and barks at me. I bark back.
2:55 p.m. A genius move! I have the checkout kid bag my groceries in plastic so I can strap them all onto my arms. I load up all twelve bags on my arm and with my free hand pick up the 12 pack of pop. The cashier asks if I'm sure I don't need a carryout. "No," I grimace. I get to the car and realize I have to drop all of the bags to the ground to get the keys out of my pocket. I don't care; this exercise has probably added a solid 90 seconds to my life expectancy.
3:30 p.m. Decide to watch some golf on tv but while standing of course. To make it more interesting, I imitate all of the players' swings as they happen. I've never played so well in my life.
5:35 p.m. Happy hour! St. Pauli Girl and I sit on the patio and discuss the day's events over a glass of wine. I want to stand but my heels are actually killing me. I come up with an idea:
"Let's arm wrestle!" I challenge her.
"Yeah, we're killing ourselves by sitting here. So let's get some exercise. I'll even go left handed!"
"You'd be stupid not to play! I'm going left-handed plus I'm pretty sore from golfing."
"Why don't you be useful, and cook dinner," she finally said.
6:15 p.m. That was a great idea; I can easily man the grill while standing. We have three grills, so I choose the manly Weber charcoal grill. I light the fire and stand next to the grill as it burns down.
6:45 p.m. I throw some hamburgers on the hot grill. I lean down and inhale deeply that wonderful charcoal hamburger cooking aroma. Then I slap myself on the head. I sit down next to St. Pauli Girl.
"I don't know. I just can't win," I say.
"What's the matter?"
"Charcoal has carcinogens. That breath probably cost me four seconds of life expectancy."
We sit quietly for a minute before St. Pauli Girl refills our wine glasses. She holds her glass out to me, "Here's to life."
"Every single day of it," I reply with a smile. Clink.