By Ken Reed
Some say sitting is the new smoking. Doctors have recently coined the term “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SDS)” to describe the multitude of diseases resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.
“Excessive sitting is a lethal activity,” says Dr. James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
While regular exercise is beneficial it’s not enough if you have a desk job that requires sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen for nine hours a day. You need to move more than the 30 minutes you spend at the gym.
Studies have shown that sitting negatively impacts our health in both the short-and-long-term.
Dr. Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, describes what happens during prolonged sitting in a New York Times article written by James Vlahos:
“Electrical activity in the muscles drops — ‘the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,’ Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and tryglycerides for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.”
As you can imagine, the negative effects of a sitting lifestyle add up over a lifetime, as this paragraph from Vlahos’ article points out:
“Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher.”
Fortunately, we don’t have to go on strict, six-days-a-week, cardiovascular-training regimens to combat the effects of sitting. We just need to move more, even little movements.
Dr. Levine has started a campaign against what he terms “the chair-based lifestyle.” Doing little things like standing up during phone calls, getting up to walk down the hall for a drink of water, taking the stairs to our offices instead of the elevator, and incorporating standing desks or treadmill desks in our workspaces instead of sitting desks (this applies to our children in schools as well).
Farmers and others who have jobs requiring at least modest physical activity have an advantage over the rest of us who spend most of our time in front of a computer screen. But there are numerous little things that we can do during the day to increase the number of our daily movements.
And instead of leaving work to go home to sit on the couch to watch a basketball game, we could go to the gym and actually play basketball ourselves.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Directors, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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