Sitting at Computers Is Killing Us, but This Video Could Help Save Your Life

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 16 2013 1:48 PM

Sitting at Computers Is Killing Us, but This Video Could Help Save Your Life

FT-130816-posture
Slouching toward heart disease

Still from Vimeo.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re heading toward an early grave. I know, that sounds extreme, but we’re only just starting to understand all the myriad ways a sedentary lifestyle can kill us—and I have to assume that you’re not reading this article while climbing a Stairmaster. Actually, according to the video below, it wouldn’t make much difference even if you were.

The fact is, fewer and fewer of us make a living toiling in the fields or venturing into jungles on scientific assay. For the most part, that’s a good thing. Life expectancy in the United States is about 78 years and change, up from just 49.2 years a little more than a century ago. Sure, a lot of that has to do with advancements in medicine, but we can’t underestimate how much safer jobs are today than they were back then. Just in the 60-some years between 1933 and 1997, deaths from work-related injuries dropped 90 percent.

Advertisement

But you can’t take a body built to forage and strap it to an office chair for 11 hours a day and expect good things to happen. And it’s not just your job. We drive everywhere and spend most of our free time watching television or plopped in front of a computer, tablet, or smart phone. All that sitting adds up—studies show that people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of heart disease as those who stand for a living.

If you’re like me, you saw the “Sitting is Killing Us” infographic going around earlier in the year and probably thought—that’s it, I’m going to take better care of myself. Now that it’s been a few months, have you made even one change? (I’m catching myself slouching as I type this.) Well here’s another chance to confront your life-shortening posture—this time with motion and sound! Can you make it to the end of the video without hunching over?

Who wants to join me in a Google Hangout every half hour to get up and channel your inner Squirrely? Anyone?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Jason Bittel serves up science for picky eaters on his website, BittelMeThis.com. He lives in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Working
Dec. 18 2014 4:49 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 17 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a middle school principal about his workday.