Your Chair Is Killing You!

James A. Levine, MD, PhD

Opening the second day of YWM2014, James Levine declared, “Your chair is killing you.” He got our attention.

He continued with an entertaining and highly understandable review of his research on non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). We learned about his unplanned career as an underwear designer — to provide tools to track NEAT. And we learned about the rise of the Chairman (humanity confined to a chair). The sedentary life increasingly confines people to sitting and drives much of the energy gap behind rising obesity rates.

It seems that all the technology we love, combined with jobs that keep us in our chairs, is responsible for the sedentary trend. The difference in daily energy expenditure for chair-bound work compared to The Chairman's Rise to Powerstrenuous physical work can be as much as 2,000 calories daily.

So what are we to do? Get up and move. Employers that profess concern about obesity can stop creating work environments that make employees chair-bound. Get a standing or walking desk and kill that chair before it kills you. Cities can provide an environment where getting out and moving is natural instead of hazardous. Watch less television. Walk after every meal.

Click here to read more about NEAT exercises for couch potatoes and here to read more about Levine’s research.

Motivation Killer, photograph © Peter Kemmer / flickr

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2 Responses to “Your Chair Is Killing You!”

  1. September 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm, Suzan Nashashibi RNutr said:

    Very important topic indeed especially with overweight &obesity where I notice how even the mildest activity level can have a positive impact on health &weight of individuals

    • September 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and perspective, Suzan.