WriteSpa #33 – Sitting Is Deadly

WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers

Scientists have discovered something new! Sitting is deadly. Spending most of your days with most of your weight resting on your delicate lower spine is dangerous, even if you regularly exercise.

Apparently, after just a few hours of sitting, the body starts sending hazardous warning signals to your brain (like telling genes that regulate the glucose in your body to shut down). Even for people who exercise, spending long stretches of time just sitting is still terribly risky. One article I read stated that a scientist had pointed out the lethal effects of sitting in research studies over fifty years ago. (His findings were allegedly suppressed by the powerful chair lobby.)

For most people, Writing is imagined to be the process of being hunched over a desk and applying pen to paper or fingerpads to keyboards. When I’m asked whether I ‘worked’ today, usually the question refers to how many hours I sat in a chair at my desk. (Personally, I’ve always written most productively in bed; I don’t even own a desk.)

Now we’re told that using a stool to lean on, so more weight is on your legs, or stretching out on a chaise lounge, is much healthier than sitting at a desk. In fact, it might even save your life.

If we bring these fascinating scientific findings into the classroom, we realize that allowing children to put their feet on their desks, to fidget as much as possible, to stretch out on the floor or to get up and walk around whenever they’re inclined, will improve concentration, increase productivity, and lead to much better overall physical health.

Here are two charming NYT articles for more information about how sitting can kill you: Is All That Sitting Killing Us and Stand Up While You Read This


Fun Writing Practice – Break your habits

Write somewhere new. Even if the desk and chair routine is working for you, try a shady hammock for a change, or lying on your stomach. Or try writing while you’re standing – you might find yourself gesturing madly and even reading dialogue out loud.

Break another habit – not just the position you’re in when you write. For example, try using a pen to write. Or if you always write things in long hand, try typing a first draft. If you always have coffee when you write, try a glass of water or some lemonade. If you need people around you, and you always head out to the local coffee shop, try writing in a room alone. And if you think the idea of writing with lots of people around is outrageous and you would hate it – then try that experience.

Let me know how this works for you.


Daily Happinesses

  • Purple and green
  • Being held all night long
  • Gardening in the light rain
  • Sitting around the table
  • daffodils and candlelight

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