Sitting-CartoonAre you sitting there, reading this blog? I’m sitting here writing it.

We sit too much – in cars, at desks and in front of the TV at home. In recent years, there has been a shift of focus in the medical and scientific communities towards the “emerging field of inactivity studies.” The primary focus of inactivity studies is the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle, i.e. sitting, and their findings have been startling.
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TAO Wellness’s main mission – with both the handheld TAO Wellshell and the new TAO Chair – is to combat these ill effects of sitting in a way that can be easily integrated into your lifestyle.

“Sitting down for more than three hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by two years, even if he or she is physically active and refrains from dangerous habits like smoking.” Even if you work out or go running several times per week, it’s not enough. You need to active throughout the day.

Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, agrees with this conclusion, saying, “New evidence suggests, in fact, that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are.” He concludes that “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” and goes on to explain that the negative physical effects of sitting include: “Electrical activity in the muscles drops…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 triglycerides…plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.”.
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Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., a Men’s Health advisor and physical therapist in Indianapolis, Indiana, explains that the fascia, “a tough connective tissue that covers all your muscles” will adapt to the specific position that your muscles are in most often and, if your body adapts to sitting in a chair you will become “less adept at standing, walking, running, and jumping, all of which a truly healthy human should be able to do with proficiency.” Just because your body has the ability to conform to a sedentary lifestyle, it does not make it any less harmful in the long run.

Research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that increased sitting decreases the length of your telomeres – the “protective caps made of DNA and protein that sit on the end of chromosomes and try to stop damage during cell division. They affect how long cells live, with shorter telomeres being linked to diseases related to ageing, such as heart disease, many cancers, diabetes, obesity and strokes.” These various bodies of research show the holistic physical damage being sustained over time just from sitting – not simply on a muscular or vascular level, but on a cellular level as well.

In 2014, “a study over 12 years of 92,000 women who were postmenopausal found that those who spent most time sitting (11 hours or more a day) had a 12% increase in dying from any condition, a 27% increase in deaths from heart disease and a 21% rise in dying from cancer compared with those who sat for four or less hours” (Dillner). With statistics like these it becomes clear that sitting is slowly killing us, but what can those of us who work at a desk all day do?

CBS News explains that one of the best ways to counter a sedentary workspace is to stand as much as you can – request a standing desk, hold walking or standing meetings, and stand up anytime that you are able to, such as when on the phone (Johnson).
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While this is good advice, we understand that it is not always practical or possible. Meetings, plane flights, car trips, work – we know that sometimes sitting is unavoidable, and we wanted to make a way for people to engage in more active healthy sitting. With the TAO Chair you can actually build strength and burn calories while sitting using the principles of isometric exercise. With the Wellshell you can work out anywhere, anytime while sitting or standing. With our TAO devices, we are trying to contribute a possible cure for the epidemic that is sitting in this modern computer driven age.

References

Dillner, Luisa. “Is sitting down bad for my health?” The Gaurdian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 15 September 2014. Web. 21 January 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/15/is-sitting-down-bad-for-my-health>.

Johnson, Dave. “Why Sitting All Day is Killing You.” CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc., 23 July 2012. Web. 21 January 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-sitting-all-day-is-killing-you/>.

Masters, Maria. “Is Your Office Chair Killing You?” Men’s Health. Rodale Inc., 27 October 2010. Web. 21 January 2015 <http://www.menshealth.com/health/staying-active>.

Seidman, Andrew. “Sitting for More Than Three Hours a Day Cuts Life Expectancy.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 10 July 2012. Web. 21 January 2015. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303343404577516853567934264>

Vlahos, James. “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 14 April 2011. Web. 21 January 2015.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html?_r=0>.