New DANGER for Writers!

Recently a friend wrote a blog about plotting vs. pantsing; it appears there is a new “danger” and meaning related to pantsing.

For some time people at my place of employment have been talking about the need to not sit for extended periods of time. I’ve heard hints of this in the popular press, too, and I am a participant in a long-term, nationwide study that asks a question about how many hours a day you SIT. If this anti-sitting  research pans out, it appears  writers are at risk for ailments not associated with writing in the past. Diabetes. Heart disease. Obesity and probably other ailments as well. Much of the research appears to have come from Australia, with interest shown by many other health care professionals.

Probably most of us think, “Oh, I walk for a half hour a day, or ride my bike for two hours, or exercise on the weekend,” but what this research is saying is that that is not enough and what we need to do is stop sitting for extended periods of time. Exactly what constitutes an “extended” period of time I do not currently know, nor do I know how much time you have to stand up and move around to counteract the effects. Does standing and walking down the stairs to pour coffee provide enough of a break when you’ve been sitting for three hours editing a manuscript? Probably not.

2/20/12 UPDATE: It looks like this could be even more of a concern for older writers. Younger writers turn into older writers on a daily basis, so it most likely is best to establish new habits NOW.

The best advice at the moment might be to set a timer and get up and stretch every hour or so. Dance. If you’re at home, vacuum, run down to the basement to fold the wash, walk to the store. If you can find a place to use your laptop while standing, do that for part of the day. If you’re at writing group, stand up and discuss the writing for at least five minutes of every hour. Just don’t sit in your seat staring at the screen for hours at a time.

This cutting edge research gives new meaning to the word pantser, but unfortunately, it applies to plotters, too!!

Here is the Abstract for one of the original articles from European Endocrinology:

‘Too Much Sitting’ and Metabolic Risk – Has Modern Technology Caught Up with Us?
David W Dunstan,1–5 Genevieve N Healy,1,3 Takemi Sugiyama3 and Neville Owen3

Abstract
Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that prolonged sitting (sedentary behaviour: time spent in behaviours that have very low energy expenditure, such as television viewing and desk-bound work) has deleterious cardiovascular and metabolic correlates, which are present even among adults who meet physical activity and health guidelines. Further advances in communication technology and other labour-saving innovations make it likely that the ubiquitous opportunities for sedentary behaviour that currently exist will become even more prevalent in the future. We present evidence that sedentary behaviour (too much sitting) is an important stand-alone component of the physical activity and health equation, particularly in relation to cardio-metabolic risk, and discuss whether it is now time to consider public health and clinical guidelines on reducing prolonged sitting time that are in addition to those promoting regular participation in physical activity.

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  1. #1 by Caroline on February 17, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    I had gone back to sitting at work after standing for several weeks but this has re inspirred me to start standing again.

  2. #2 by c2london on February 17, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    I find it difficult to remain standing even when I work at my counter, but then, standing all the time might have some deleterious effects, too. At least on my knees.

  3. #3 by cryptictown on February 20, 2014 - 9:38 pm

    I do both at work, well, walking and sitting. No standing to speak of. But those looooong weekends where all I do is write could be a problem.

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