Monday, February 24, 2014

Stand Up for Writers

Panic tremors shiver down my backbone. My legs jerk and my feet tap the floor uncontrollably. Some part of my brain 
wonders pathetically if this could be considered exercise. Too little, too late. 

I am doomed to disability according to a new study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

I can do exercise classes twice a week, muck out my horse twice a day, diet on the odd occasion, but if I'm sixty years 
old or older, every hour spent sitting may well double the risk of becoming disabled.

"This is the first time we've shown sedentary behavior was related to increased disability regardless of the amount of moderate exercise," said Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago,  and lead author of the study. "Being sedentary is not just a synonym for inadequate physical activity."


Dangers of Sitting

So it's the sitting that does it. And all writers spend most of their working day sitting or do they?

Do the new findings mean I can sit till I'm fifty-nine and 364 days? Till I'm fifty-five? Till I'm sixty-one if I exercise a lot?

All studies should be read with caution and Professor Dunlop points out that because the study examines data at one point in time, it does not definitively determine that sedentary behavior causes disability. "It draws attention to the fact that this is a potential problem." 

Animal studies have shown that immobility is a separate risk factor for negative effects on health. Professor Dunlop's study, co-authored with Rowland Chang M.D.,is the first to corroborate that data using objective evidence from over two thousand adults over sixty.


Stand Up for your Health

According to Pilates instructor Nina Cranmer, sitting is one of the worst postures for the human body. A new mother and nowhere near sixty. she parks her laptop on a high window ledge and always stands when using it. 

My mother was a great believer in Winston Churchill's dictum. When asked to what he attributed his success, he said, "Economy of effort. Never stand up when 
you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down."

I realize now she never followed this advice herself, being always on the move. But it was a great way to keep children at bay.

Now shall I wriggle about on my Pilates ball while I write or find a book to read in bed? No contest. I'm with Churchill all the way.

All tips to help writers avoid a sedentary lifestyle welcome in the comments below.


 Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she passes on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips from time to time at Slow and Steady Writers 



16 comments:

  1. Annie, this is so funny. You gave me a good laugh. I've read that being sedendary is dangerous to our health. Writing and marketing for hours can't be healthy, but it's no worse than working at a 9-5 office job (which I've done also). I do try to offset it by getting up pretty often, walking through the rooms while I'm on the phone, and other things to keep the blood flowing.

    Guess I'd better get back to using my recumbent bike!

    Thanks for making me laugh!

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    1. Hi Karen, standing and walking while on the phone was one of the survey's recommendations so you're doing the right thing lol. Recumbent bike? sounds dangerous to me :-)

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  2. Annie, I enjoyed this although I found it a bit sobering. You see, I've run out of my pre-60 days. Actually, by quite a few days. Or months. Okay then, years.

    I can just see myself perched on a Pilates ball while working on my computer. Which is more detrimental to my health? Sitting? Or a fractured hip?

    I'll go with Churchill's advice too! It's just a bit of a challenge writing when flat on my back.

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    1. What we need to find is a biro that writes uphill :-) You're so energetic Shirley I doubt if you ever sit for hours without moving about.

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  3. When I read articles written by fully abled people I have a choice. I either get angry at their myopia or as soon as I read the headline I move along without engaging ... especially if there's a 'you should' part. And let's not get started on the ageist thing.
    I think I need a good lay down.

    Seroiusly though, I work from home. I write, I walk to the end of the street to collect the mail, I write, I put a load of wash on, I write, I do the dishes, make the bed, feed the cat, I write, spend time with Mrs Widders, I write ... and so on throughout the day. If I am on a writing roll, I will set a timer for 30 minutes. At which point I will stand up, stretch, look out the window for bit then get back to writing.

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    1. I like your timer suggestion--sorry 'bout spelling from now on in. Hve lost the letter A on my mchine--its been sitting too long doing nothing, I guess. I certinly spend too long sitting when I'm on roll.

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  4. Me too! When I'm working at my computer, I sometimes set an internet timer too. Then, I get up, do a few stretches or exercises, or walk around a bit. But I don't always remember. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Tx Melinda--wow my a hs returned. Spot of exercise hs done it wonders lol. Ah, spoke too soon...I'm hopeless t remembering too when I get involved in reAding or writing.

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  5. I always write standing up - not for any fear of middle age spread, but so I'm ready to move if the need arises. Probably good for my bottom and longevity and not so great for my concentration.

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    1. yikes--no A far less little a...
      As statistics go, I suppose that shows how few of us write standing., Maggie. I for one go into park mode when I'm writing. You certainly get a lot done, concentrating or not. :-)

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  6. Annie, loved this!

    My problem? I need to spend more time sitting and writing!

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    1. hehe think that might be mine too Kathleen but congrats on all your doing bearing fruit.

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  7. Yes a great post and reminder. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and reading, Jean. You do so much exercise, can't see it affecting you :-)

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  8. Hi Annie, it was a great idea to look further into this study . I heard about it but feel I can't do much about all the sitting I do. I get up for breaks, too, but here's the kicker. I actually got two small callouses on my derrier (ahem, one on each side) so now you know how much sitting I do! I got special cream for them from my skin doc, got a donut that I couldn't stand sitting on, took a month's break while on vacation and they finally went away. Oh well, I suppose this is a funny story to tell my grandchildren!

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    1. Sorry Linda. See that somehow your reply got lost. Hope your unwanted;little writing friends have gone away for good? :-) I have a Pilates cushion, round and knobbly and hate it too, much more comfortable sitting on the ball.

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