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Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults (annals.org)
174 points by happy-go-lucky 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 102 comments

I changed my primary work goal 2 years ago. Now I try to minimize stress as the most important goal of the work day. I redefined my job; it now is to solve problems in the lowest stressful way. In other words, my employer is not paying me to kill myself.

I walk 10 mins every 1 to 2 hours and use that time to review. I try to find ways to solve problems in ways that are more fun, easier, and effective. So to me a 10 min break is a work requirement. Solving a stressful problem and not reducing the stress first is wrong. It isn't just something I do for my health, it is the way people are supposed to work because it produces much better solutions.

After 50 mins working on something very difficult my mind gets so mucked up. Often I discover a simpler solution during the break and end up getting my work done much faster.

Sometimes stress can peak and when that happens I just take a nap until it dissipates. Usually just 30 mins but there are times when it can take an hour or more. Again, I view the nap as doing work because often I wake up with a simpler solution that also has much less stress. If I can't find one, then I escalate the issue. Again, it isn't my job to absorb stress to the point where it degrades my effectiveness.

Please note, I don't work on production system being used by 100s of millions of users. I've done it; it was fun; it is not possible to reduce stress in that work so it is not worth the effort. I now make 2x as much and have almost no stress.

> Sometimes stress can peak and when that happens I just take a nap until it dissipates. Usually just 30 mins but there are times when it can take an hour or more. Again, I view the nap as doing work because often I wake up with a simpler solution that also has much less stress.

Here I thought I was the only one. Thanks for sharing. I find work to be pretty stress-inducing for some obscure psychological reasons; taking an occasional nap to reboot the stress meter is a solution my body arrived at.

>After 50 mins working on something very difficult my mind gets so mucked up.

I am suddenly reminded of my college classes that were 50 mins on the dot, with 10 mins in between as travel time to get to the next class.

I walk 10 mins every 1 to 2 hours and use that time to review. I try to find ways to solve problems in ways that are more fun, easier, and effective. So to me a 10 min break is a work requirement.

Ah, the old Walk-n-Talk meeting style.


If I could get Alan Sorkin's endorsement I'd sell it as a work out routine and make millions.

For breaks, I find letting my thoughts drift to be important. In fact, I try to avoid thinking about my work doing many of my walks/breaks (sometimes I can't help it though).

Doing a bit of low-key mindfulness and slowing my breathing has been very helpful as well.

only tangentially related ... but this is a funny take on the ol' walk and talk :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2_Re7wmd2o&ab_channel=Rocke...

The headline result (sedentary behavior leads to increased risk of mortality) is not completely supported by the results shown in the abstract.

They break the test subjects into four groups ranked by activity level, and compare the the highest activity group to the rest. But in the results, only the lowest activity group has a hazard ratio where the 95% confidence interval does not contain 1. Translation: the data only shows a meaningful difference in mortality risk between the highest and lowest activity groups. For the other two groups, the data does not support show an increased risk.

Also they didn't randomize the activity level of the subjects by putting them on different exercise programs.

I would think that people being in an end of life state at the beginning of the study would tend to be more likely to be tired and avoid exercise.

It could well be that early undiagnosed terminal illness causes people to be sedentary and not the other way around.

Agreed. We're back in cause vs. correlation territory, no?

The most sedentary people may also be the most obese, the most likely to suffer from diabetes, the most burdened with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, etc. Their expected lifespans will thus be quite shorter.

I'm willing to believe that appropriate exercise is good for you, almost no matter how robust or frail your health is. But this would be a much better study if it tracked cohorts with roughly parallel starting health. That way, the degree of active-vs.-sedentary living could be a study variable that wasn't tainted by undocumented variations in starting health status.

This stood out to me also. I understand why they didn't do so - randomizing exercise for 8,000 people is all but impossible. (Unreliable for "do more", potentially unethical for "do less"). But it's pretty worrying because there are a stack of possible shared causes between mortality and activity.

Everything from obesity (cause of inactivity and shared causes with inactivity) to rarer mortality risks like cancer would simultaneously act to create this result even with no causative linkage.

It seems like a new version of that infamous NEJM study showing that low and healthy weights have especially high mortality - because terminally ill patients tend to lose a lot of weight.

Randomized trials are the gold standard, but I wouldn't blast a study straight for being prospective.

My main thingy with studies like these is that actuarial bookkeeping is hard. The difference in base mortality rate between a few age years in difference can be huge. But since the study runs 4, that difference in base rate multiplies. Properly accounting for that is hard.

i imagine its a negative feedback loop. unhealthy people move less and become even more unhealthy.

that being said, obesity correlates positively with inactivity. being less sedentary is a huge goal of mine to improve my health, pvalues or not

I agree.

However the hazard ratio is monotonously increasing across activity groups in the direction one would expect if there is an effect. So the data does indeed show a (meaningful) rise in risk going lower on the activity ladder, only it is not statistically significant.

A continuous model might get more (statistical) traction here. They've got the data. Why use segments?

This should be obvious, however people still refuse to get up, and just walk around every hour for a minute. I spend a silly amount of time behind a computer, but I'll do 10-20 pushups / jumping jacks, every hour or so. After hours, I'll bang out six miles on the hiking trails.

Get up, go get a drink, do a lap around the office. Get a stand/sit desk. Do some simple exercises. Pushups can be done anywhere, and will alleviate lower back pain.

Two habits that have changed my life:

1. Waking up early and reading something significant with my morning coffee. Usually something on philosophy or theology. Not looking at any screens until I'm at work.

2. Working out for an hour each day. It's like a switch: once I work out regularly, everything else falls into place. I eat better (because I don't want to lose the benefits of the 1 hour workout I just put in). I sleep better (because I have to be up early to workout).

Working out daily truly is one of the best habits I've ever picked up.

Fully agreed on the screens part. I've gone back to ditching the screen at night. Previously I'd want to read an electronic book, but would end up distracted with everything else. The upside to ditching the electronic screen is focus and general avoidance of the light prior to bed. While RedShift/NightLight modes are nice, I still notice a profound difference by dumping the phone an hour or so before I turn it in.

I think the other component we'll see questioned more and more over the coming years is the general questioning around homeostasis. I recently finished Scott Carney's: "What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength" and it was a great read. While the main premise of the book is Scott's initial mission to debunk the Wim Hof Method he delves into a lot of newer research and training that is centered around building up our bodies beyond traditional exercise.

Recently I read through comments on HN when the Bay area hit record highs and how people were cautioning of all of the bad things that would happen if one didn't seek A/C. It really hit home how many people are not acclimated, at all, to any level of extreme that other portions of the planet and people deal with on a daily basis. Just as we're sedentary, we're also not as capable to environmental adaptation - and I'll speculate this isn't good for us long term either. I've moved to 5+ minutes per shower of full cold and stopped using A/C in my vehicle, and more sparingly in my home. If you've never done the cold showers as a test to see what you're body is truly capable of - do it. It's amazing how you adapt in a short period of time. Also the clarity and anxiety reduction it brings to either the start or the end of the day is an understatement. Try it, it's cheap and takes no additional time out of your day if you're already showering anyway.

Mindset is key for enduring discomfort that won't kill you. A cold shower won't hurt you, and knowing that you can assume any discomfort is unimportant, just a nerve reaponse reporting the situation. Muscle ache is similar, it is counter intuitive but that you are sore in itself won't hurt you.

Knowing what will and won't hurt you is important though. Something as simple as hydration is a lost skill in dealing with heat. I would wager many have forgotten how to walk more than short distances. You can totally walk 2km, unless you have mobility issues.

Not to take away from those with genuine mobility issues of course, but I also note that many are quick to find an ailment to define them and through that can really cheat themselves out of great experiences, assuming they aren't capable when really they are.

I am glad we are getting smarter about this kind of thing though, and the ever prolonged age of retirement is probably going to do a few favours in keeping many active and healthy. When my grandfather finally retired from the farm it was just a couple of years before his mind and body had withered away.

The report said sedentary periods >= 10 minutes were sufficient to cause increased mortality.

"(high sedentary time [≥12.5 h/d] and high bout duration [≥10 min/bout]) had the greatest risk for death."

I don't think I know anyone who is active on < 10 minute intervals.

Christ, unless I'm missing something that's practically fundamentally incompatible with modern society and just about any intellectual pursuit.

That is 'average sedentary period', so you can still sit for 30 minutes occasionally. It would pretty much take a standing desk and constant focus on activity to get <10, though.

Sure, but I'm advocating getting your ass up and doing anything but sitting down all day. 10 minute intervals aren't realistic, but I frequently stand up, at least a half dozen times an hour just to stretch.

"still refuse to get up"

It's hard to be the first one to do this. I've been in some places where it would get you funny looks, some where it would get you marked as lazy (somewhat paradoxically), and some where it's encouraged.

I like to do a decent swim on my lunch breaks (1250 meters these days). It was a good sign when my boss asked about how to join the same gym instead of wondering what I was gone for 50 minutes.

You're that way until that behavior gets you in some real pain, then you stop caring about the looks you might get.

People would give you funny looks for standing up to stretch? People need to stop caring what others think.

No, but if I left and went for a ten minute walk I would definitely get disapproving looks. At the time I was at a point in my career where I had fewer options and took what I could get.

Things like FB Snap, Instagram are heavily and successfully invested in convincing people that what others thing of them is the most significant aspect of their lives.

Things like paying rent and student loans made me care quite a bit what my boss thought.

Did it, or did it just teach you to appear to care?

Seconded. I used to feel lower back pain due to the amount of sitting at a desk. Running and lifting weights did wonders for how I feel on a daily basis.

Losing enough weight so that there's not cantilevered fat out front acting as a lever on your lower back muscles really helps.

That also makes things like using a standing desk, or taking breaks to walk around, a lot easier to do. That weight hanging out in front makes everything but sitting painful.

Exercise didn't help me with my occasional back issues, but switching to a standing desk really did. I didn't get one of those adjustable ones, because $400 for a desk that raises and lowers was silly--instead I just got a draft-height chair and stand and sit as appropriate.

At some point, I decided I wasn't even going to bother with a chair. Every time I sit on the tall chair at work, I'm just Not Productive compared to standing.

fwiw, they make drafting stool aeron high-chairs. protip: buy one used, because the new price is high even for HM.

You can also buy high bases for existing Aeron chairs. I use a knock-off, though.

Just running and lifting before or after work doesn't necessarily solve the problem though. I was talking to my doctor about it, and she said it was equally if not more important to take regular breaks during work to walk around, "look at something far away" (computer job), etc.

10 minutes is a high bout duration for sedentarism? Wow. Where did they find the group with low bout duration then? That would mean having meals standing up, not driving or commuting 10 minutes or more, not watching even a 20-minute TV program, etc.

I've purchased a stationary bike that I'll go on basically any time that I watch TV. I can't imagine just sitting down for 20 or 40 minutes to watch TV anymore.

There was a thread on here a couple weeks ago about how the good and bad parts of technology go hand in hand. I think this is a perfect example. We went from hunting and gathering to farming and domesticating, to mechanized farming and manufacturing, to cubicle farming and so on...

We've made such great technological leaps that we've afforded ourselves hours to sit on pillows and watch screens and use hydrogenated fat to stave off hunger and boredom.

EDIT: Found the thread. It was actually about the Unabomber. Go figure: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15145849

Here's one thing I've done to increase exercise in my life: I keep a jump rope in the trunk of my car, and I have a self-imposed rule that it costs 100 jumps to get into the car. I drive a few times per day, so that adds up to many small workouts!

If that wouldn't result in me embarrassing myself in the Target/Costco/supermarket/work parking lot multiple times per week, I would actually be really interested in that approach.

I had the same concern and decided to do it anyway. Here's what happened:

- At work, a few coworkers saw me jumping and now it's something we do every afternoon as a way to break the day up and get some fresh air.

- In parking lots, people walking by me will usually compliment me and sometimes that turns into a nice conversation.

So after a few good experiences with it, all of my social anxiety about it melted away.

(edit: formatting)

Why in the world do you care what some rando in a parking lot thinks about you?

Because I've been socially and culturally conditioned to, and no matter how much I can rationally justify that what other people think doesn't matter (which isn't entirely true), that doesn't mean I can emotionally accept that without angst.

Put another way, it's not rational to ignore how you think you will respond to social pressure just because you think you shouldn't respond that way to the pressure. The human mind is not so simple as that.

To be fair, if you can rationally justify the behavior, the feelings will disappear overtime. I used to be embarrassed working out in playgrounds. After doing it for a few years, I have 0 embarrassment. People also respond more positively than you initially imagine, on average.

Those fools? You'll be dancing on their graves.

I totally understand. I know it's irrational to care what others think, but I still do. That said, people are positive about it to me.

Think about it: if you were at Costco and saw some random person jumping rope by a car, what would you think of that person? Would it be anything bad?

Well, given how busy my Costco generally is, and how hard it is to maneuver with the people pushing large carts through the parking lot, my thoughts would be mixed. Initially it might be along the lines of "hmm, there are places less likely to get in people's way to do that..." For a less busy parking lot, it would probably be much more positive.

That said, I'm encouraged by the positive responses you say you've gotten. Maybe I'll give this a try.

Yeah that seems like a prohibitively high apparent social cost.

Front load your jumping jacks, do 200 jumping jacks before driving to Costco.

Or just park in the way way back.

Though I think one of the takeaways of this study and others is that frequent small breaks/exercise sessions are better than few big ones.

That's awesome! I love how so many people in this thread have their little hacks and tricks to get workouts in.

> Evaluation of their joint association showed that participants classified as high for both sedentary characteristics (high sedentary time [≥12.5 h/d] and high bout duration [≥10 min/bout]) had the greatest risk for death.

Is sleep included in the 12.5 hours per day?

Even if it isn't, I and everyone I know sits for at least that long each day. Definitely for more than 10 minutes at a time. If we need to interrupt our sitting bouts every 7.5 minutes in order to be healthy, I don't know how the hell to do this.

I'd suggest every hour is a good stop gap. Take 5 minutes. Drink water. Walk, squat and stretch your hips. A nice deep squat, hold it for a minute. It is amazing how much stiffness this alleviates from sitting. Hip flexors get tight after about 15 minutes. It is one of the reasons desk warriors have so much trouble with IT band if they are also recreational runners. Tight-ass hips.

I really despise smart watches, I turn off blue tooth and everything, but the Fenix 3/5 is my companion in my fitness journey. I follow the move indicator. When my watch buzzes, I move for 5 minutes in a way I just described and drink some water. It is annoying, but if you make it meditative and keep your task at hand in mind I have found, with practice, and this being something you always do, it does not disrupt flow state. Flow isn't like meditation, you can literally do this right in front of your monitor and keep thinking about your code or deep work task while you do it.

I think its important to look at this studies from a birds eye view and not get too bogged down in the details.

Is sitting for prolonged periods bad? Yes. Should you get up every 7.5 minutes to walk around? Probably over kill.

If you're the type that goes into work, sits until lunch, then walks to the lunch table, then returns to your desk until closing time - you could probably benefit from more moving.

My hope is that this study will encourage more work places to adopt standing desks, different working environments, and encourage activity through out the day.

Other studies indicate standing all day isn't good either. You really need a combination of stand sit. I actually think ideal based on what I have read is going to end up being some sort of very slow walk. Static positions cause edema and clotting, period. The longer you hold a static position the worse it is. It can damage muscles due to reduced blood flow and the awkward stretching of muscles and connective tissue.

I don't do this myself, but I think folks that can manage to slow walk at a tread desk are going to be the best and gaining back those years static positions shave.

Yes, standing causes people to move around more, but I actually find standing dramatically more tiring than tread-desking when I have tried it. I prefer sitting and regular movement from the sitting position, tread desking, and finally standing desks.

Personally, standing is also just not comfortable. I have run 50 mile races, and lift heavy things regularly for many years, so I have the physical conditioning for it... I just find it is the most draining way to work. It feels much harder on my body than walking all day or sitting and moving around at regular intervals.

I'm not much of a desk-stander my self, but it's nice to have the option. To clarify, I was advocating encouraging more options for desk workers - not strictly standing at work.

It would also be nice to have a longer standard lunch period. I would love to be able to work out and eat in the middle of my day, but 30 mins just isn't enough.

Are you in a white-collar job? I'm a web dev and I've never worked at a place where your lunch break was capped. Many people in the office head out to the gym in the middle of the day, or go on long lunches when work is light.

white collar but still on hourly, unfortunately.

Well these are the same types of people who told us coffee was bad, saturated fat was bad, low-fat/carbs-rich diets were good, etc. and have been found to be wrong across the board.

I don't worry too much about how other busybodies tell me I should live my life.

Come on. This is HN. No one is telling anyone how to live their life. Well, people are but we all already know to ignore them right? We are trying to parse all this data about stand/sit/walk-desk and figure out if there is anything to it regarding overall mortality. If we can make some relatively small adjustments to our lives and gain back years that static positions may be taking from us why not? This is a quest for discovery about what the data is telling us. Yes, some of the time the data leads us on a path that is not the best (coffee/fats are bad?) -- it happens. Food and nutrition studies are worse than these types of studies, I think. There are so many more complicating factors compared to the broader strokes of these sort of lifestyle studies.

> saturated fat was bad, low-fat/carbs-rich diets were good

That was the sugar industry.

This shows a correlation between death, and reduced movement before death. Pardon the obvious!

You would expect that many of the 340 subjects who died might have died, rather than accidentally, due to some progressively deteriorating condition which reduced their movement for a substantial period of time; perhaps years.

We don't know whether the onset of death produced less mobility or vice versa.

A relationship between sedentary lifestyle and mortality requires a very long term study. Like following large number s of people from age 18 (if not earlier) onward, and correlating levels of physical activity with life span.

I can't recommend varidesk.com or geekdesk.com enough. A varidesk is great if your company already supplies you with a non-standing desk and a geekdesk is excellent if you work from home and get to pick any desk you want. Be sure to get a mat to stand on as well.

I've started noticing how much sitting every day.

Most of my day involves me sitting in front of a computer: Programming and designing during the day and gaming at night.

My department has a ton of people who use standing desks, but I never saw the need.

After reading through this thread and thinking about how much sitting I do on a daily basis, I'm more likely to now to ask my company for a standing desk.

I'm hoping this will make a difference.

Big varidesk fan. Got one 2 months ago and haven't lowered it back to a sitting position yet.

What good is buying it, then? You could've just bought a higher desk (mine sits at 38") and saved three hundred bucks.

Standing desks are awesome for sure, but I don't get the adjustable trend when draft chairs have been around forever.

My house had an office with a built in desk that made Varidesk a great option. I've wanted to lower it a couple of times but opted to push through for endurance sake.

Gotcha, that makes more sense. Having that much difference between the table and the desk surface seems clunky though and multiple monitors feels pretty weird. That's why I ended up just getting a table.

I got the dual monitor mount on the back too.

Using a standing desk leaning against the wall is surprisingly comfortable. I wish someone made a product out of it. This kickstarter comes close, but the project has no update since 2 years ago: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1133385494/leanchair-th...

Let's ignore the morality claim and look at this from a pure productivity and intellectual standpoint. It has been proven, many times over, that being active (moving) will make you think better, work better and basically outperform those who do not. So if you need a reason to move around do it for job performance.

Would be interesting if the massive (potential) data trove from smartphones and smart watches could somehow be brought to a similar analysis. Apple has ResearchKit and CareKit, but not sure to which extent it's deployed and used and analysed.

"high sedentary time [≥12.5 h/d]"

Suppose I'm sedentary 13 hours a day, and that I walk / exercise for 2 hours, does it make me sedentary with a high-mortality risk?

> “Even if you’re a gymgoer and think you’re safe on account of your excellent effort, you are not,” Levine said. “No one gets away from this stuff. … Excess sitting, this study seems to suggest, is a death sentence.”


I do find that bizarre as I do qualify for that metric and also run for about 6.5 miles a day.

Honestly, I feel like a study of this nature is backing up what we already know to a degree.

But, we need to know more and I feel like a 4 year tracking period isn't enough. For example, how do we know that people who were already the most unhealthy coming into this study are also the most sedentary? How are they handling these types of things.

That's the danger of these types of studies. We all know what is healthy and what isn't, but the methodology here is suspect at best and the analysis shows weak conclusions. When headlines like the one posted here take root and people expose the truth for what it is, it damages the credibility of research and science in the minds of the masses, who are then more likely to ignore science in general.

Those about to die are more sedentary?

Is there any evodence to suggest sedentary time is causal?

I baffled by how many tech guys/girls don't understand this. This is so obvious it hurts. At my company's last year medical checkup the results were just absurd, specially for men above 30 years old. Abdominal fat, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc..Yet, nobody gives a damn, almost no one changed their habits.

Guys, just get up and move. 30m-40m a day, you can fit this into your daily schedule, don't come up with excuses. If you can fit your TV shows/gaming or your accumulative time on social media, you can redirect that to your health instead. And the output will have a major impact not just to your health, but to your appearance and your confidence.

Eat healthy, exercise and go to bed on time. You don't have to go to a gym, you can buy some gear and follow a plan from your home. Trust me, the change can be quite dramatic.

Before work, or after work, pick a time, have a working out plan, track your progress, create the habit. After two months it will feel like not taking a shower if you skip it.

It might sound stupid but one of the things that's stood in the way of establishing a workout routine for myself is lack of consistent private space to do it in. The self consciousness and embarrassment is just too overbearing, and between an open office at work and having a roommate at home, adequately long contiguous blocks of privacy just aren't there. Gyms aren't really a solution either, as not knowing those surrounding me doesn't help the issue at all.

From time to time, I see very out of shape people in the gym. The only thought in my mind when I see them is, "Good on you, goddammit." However, I don't say that aloud because I don't want to put them on the spot. If anyone says anything negative to you for working out, screw them. There are far more people who would rather have you work out and be healthy than not. Please rack your weights though! Haha

Gyms are actually pretty great once you "get it". I totally understand self consciousness around co-workers and friends, but I can completely guarantee you that at the gym, nobody cares. Everyone is in their own world.

(Unless you're being a jerk, e.g. hogging equipment)

Holy crap, the number of people who do a set, then sit for five minutes playing with their phone before doing another set is just horrifying. They probably wonder why they aren't seeing a lot of benefit despite "working out" for an hour three times a week.

To be fair if you're working hard it can take 3-5 minutes for glycogen stores to rebuild for the next hard set.

Especially in a shared environment where people may be waiting, excessive rest periods are inconsiderate. However, there is certainly some merit to longer rest periods between sets being beneficial.


If your income permits, I highly recommend getting a personal trainer. It's probably the best decision I ever made for my personal health.

I knew that if I didn't have a monetary consequence and someone holding me accountable, I'd never use the gym membership I paid for.

You could just go for a walk.

Even 30minutes walking daily makes a huge difference

You can do a remarkable amount of bodyweight exercise with minimal equipment and not a lot of space.


Planks, push-ups, and squats of many variations require no equipment at all.

Add dip bars and a chin-up bar/rings and you're basically set.

Variations mean people who've never exercised before can start very small and work their way up to incredibly challenging routines.

For cardio, good ol' walking and running work. And if you try running, don't think you have to immediately start running continuously; interval training is a thing, and is a great way to start small and work your way up.

Surely you must have a private bedroom at least?

Perhaps you should think about why you can't work out in a non-private space? No one is judging you. No one cares. Each person in the gym only cares about his or her own workout.

If you absolutely can't do the gym, you can run. You can go to yoga (another place where absolutely no one is judging you or even looking at you except the teacher).

As a powerlifter who's been going to various gyms religiously for years, I don't visibly judge anyone. Except people who use equipment egregiously wrong, or worse--people who don't put up their weights.

worth noting that its probably less about time and more about energy- so make it easy to get 30m of exercise. do something you like, make it near where you are, etc...

The funny thing is, since I started my energy levels increased. I can sustain much more time focused on a subject than before I didn't do any exercise. So, the first two or three weeks will be painful (physically), but afterwards, trust me, you will feel with so much more energy and less tired after work.

I understand this. It's just that my brain is a bunghole, and has decided that any maintenance task that the body may need is about the most boring thing it can imagine, and it would rather die than be bored. The body retaliates by pumping the brain full of chemicals that make it want to eat.

The perfectly rational part of my brain has set up activity reminders at work for 11AM, 1PM, and 3PM, presuming that walking to/from the parking lot counts as activity. They literally just say "Get up and move." The lazy jerk part of my brain always responds, "...or don't, and just click off the reminder."

And sometimes it wins. It shouldn't ever win, but it does.

Ultimately, the problem must be that part of me doesn't want to live a long and healthy life. It would prefer to die sooner rather than later. Tracing it, it seems linked to the future prediction part of my brain, which seems to believe that the future will be worse than the present.

I can't really fault its reasoning. If I knew civilization was going to collapse next week, I'd quit my job and spend some time partying. If I knew it was going down in a month, I'd probably check out at work and party at a more sedate pace. So I think I can understand one of the reasons for the US opiate epidemic. For those people, the world as they know it is ending, so they're checking out and partying. Their job is probably gone and not coming back, and maybe no one really cares about them anymore, if anyone ever did. So they can face a long, slow, downward spiral of pain and despair, or they can jump off a cliff and make it a quick rush of euphoria, then no more pain.

Sedentary lifestyle is more of a response to a general malaise. I sometimes don't think I'll ever be able to retire. Most of the jobs I have held have absolutely sucked. And many of my ancestors were at least octagenarians. Rather than spend the next 40 years working for The Man, part of me might be whispering, "being dead is a great excuse to stop working so hard for the exclusive benefit of other people."

So essentially, I probably don't change my habits because I believe that living longer would just allow other people to use me as their pack mule for more years. I don't really want to die, but I haven't really been living for the last 20 years, either. I earn like a software pro, spend like a stingy hobo, and have nothing to show for it, not even social capital.

Why would I invest in myself without even the possibility of getting equity in return? And that's just a really difficult argument to counter. What could I do to get more enjoyment out of life, that would make me want more of it? If America has epidemics of drug addictions and obesity, what does that say about its opinion of the future? Are we all a Rat Park Experiment writ large, pushing our levers in our Skinnerboxes just because there is nothing better to do?

The world needs something new to believe in and spend money on, but I'm not charismatic enough to give it my dreams.

I may be overthinking this.

Have you tried podcasts? I find going for a walk is much less boring if I'm listening to a podcast.

I don't particularly care if I live a long time either, but I want whatever time I have to suck less.

You forgot lawyer up.

Can a moderator please kindly delete this comment and the child

Your depression may be exacerbated by a lack of exercise/fitness.

Please kindly remove these comments.

I flagged your comment to help get the mods' attention.

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