This Verse Could Save Your Life

The new advice for modern masses:
On your feet, and off your asses!
The hours you’re spending on your rears
Can cost your lifespan several years!
The sofa, couch, or beanbag chair
On which you rest your derriere
Is slowly, surely, killing you.
And so, of course, what you must do
Is walk. Or run. Or, simply, stand—
It’s really not a big demand—
There’s just one thing you have to quit;
The thing you cannot do… is sit.

So… get pissed off! Or get angry! Frown!
But do not take this sitting down.

In todays NY Times, an opinion piece warns us of the dangers of sitting. And this is not an isolated warning. A.J.Jacobs (of “The Year of Living Biblically” and “The Know-It-All), in his new book “Drop Dead Healthy”, warns us against the evils of… sitting. Aussie researchers tell us that “On average, every single hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 (95% UI: 0.3-44.7) min.”

So, yeah, the world is conspiring to yell “get off the damn couch and get on your feet” at me. And the weird thing? I’m actually standing up while writing this. Maybe I’m an idiot, but it does not cost me anything to be standing right now, and with only one life, a few extra days with grandchildren seems a pretty decent lure to me…


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    On average, every single hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 (95% UI: 0.3-44.7) min.

    What has the last hour of sitting on my butt reading blogs done to my life expectancy?

  2. unbound says

    Sigh. More health advice via statistics instead of scientific investigation. Statistical correlation does not equal causation.

    Definitely a fan of getting off the couch and doing things (I’m fairly sure that exercise is a good thing), but I can’t tolerate the lack of real science with the claims. Per the abstract even “This study is limited by the low precision with which the relationship between TV viewing time and mortality is currently known.”

  3. Cuttlefish says


    I nearly put another verse in about the huge error bars, but my muse was not cooperative.

    Interestingly, I have recently been reading two separate projects that do break broad statistics down to individual behavior. I am so happy to see this happening, as your complaint is appropriate for all too many studies…

  4. says

    I offset the damage by eating candy bars while I sit, as numerous publications have alerted me to the benefits of chocolate in recent years. Anti-oxygen, or something.
    Maybe a few cigarettes would help even more. Can’t be too healthy!

  5. says

    Old age is overrated. I refuse to become a burden for my grandchildren (if and when they arrive). Besides, something’s got to be done about the overpopulation problem and I might as well contribute my help by cashing in early.

  6. Brea Plum says

    What about those of us who are sitting not to watch television, but to read? Some of us still do that, you know. Some of us even do it quite a lot.

    What about those of us who have desk jobs? Standing and walking around while working is not an option. The only way to functionally use a computer in the vast majority of workplaces is to sit.

    What about people with long commutes to those jobs? You can’t stand or walk about while you are driving or riding a bus or train.

    In other words, many if not most people do not have the option.

    Even if the claim is accurate, it is useless in any practical sense except for those who have complete freedom and financial resources to customize their workspace and work location for optimum health.

  7. Cuttlefish says

    Or, Brea Plum, employers could possible see this as a means by which to lower health care costs, and take action to make minor changes in the workplace.

  8. carpenterman says

    This is why I rarely sit. I’m usually either on my feet, doing something, or sprawled out full length.
    I read recently that if you sit, you should use a stool or exercise ball; something without a back. This keeps the weight distributed on the hips and keeps your back aligned properly. Or something like that.

  9. The Lorax says

    Smoking, sitting, shooting up,
    Soda pop and too much traffic.
    Want to scare your little pup?
    Make a bullshit info-graphic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *