I have lifeguards friends that talked to me about the change in the body shape they have seen over the years, especially women as the spend more and more time sit down in front of the computer.
So I decided to change, it took months to get used to it as all musculature had been trained by years to sit down as since school time and on kids-adults are forced to sit down.
I had worked as a teacher for kids and is really really interesting HOW THEY OPPOSE AND RESIST sitting in the same place without moving. One day we had strong hail storm out there and the principal-director forced us to keep kids inside on playtime. Other teachers forced kids to sit on their chairs so they could count and control them easily. The next class I had the kids almost exploding under their desk with painful anxiety. So I let them stand up and move as they wish while I was giving my class!!. It worked wonderfully.
If I sit I use a Bar Stool, but I'm standing up 90% of the time. My computer is in front of my eyes. I love it.
If you try it, CAUTION, it will take time for your musculature to adapt, at least a month.
We're obviously designed for some kind of sitting. Our bodies bend very comfortably that way. If you walk uphill for ten miles, your body really wants to sit down on the nearest log or rock to take a rest (though how this was supposed to be comfortable back when we used to be naked is a mystery to me). I have no doubt that our ancestors used to sit down to rest. Probably to eat, and to drink water, and to talk, and to weave those loincloths which would be necessary to make sitting down on a log much less uncomfortable.
Our backs and feet suck for standing all day. Mind you, our backs and feet suck for pretty much everything.
The two things I've noticed are significant tightening in my lower back and discomfort leading to pain in my heels. If I stand barefoot for much of the day, the heel pain can be so bad that there's a sort of burning sensation as I lay in bed at night.
Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes has greatly reduced the heel pain. You could counter that I simply need to spend more time on my feet to condition myself, but as I saw no improvement in the pain over the course of weeks, I'll be disinclined to believe you. :-)
My dad used to have knee issues like crazy. He now moved to a village and never wears shoes. All his knee issues are gone. Better yet he can run into a river as if it was a paved road. (Riverbeds are covered in small slippery rocks which make it very hard to walk on)
Also you probably have some kind of problem with the fascia at the bottom of your foot. Get a tennis ball and use it to massage your whole foot. Do it once a day.
It will hurt like hell to start but your feet will feel awesome after it. After a few weeks the initial pain will go away completely.
My point in posting my experience is that everyone is different, and people who say, "just do X and it will solve all your problems," have very little likelihood of being accurate. I'm glad your father is doing well, but trust me, I have a host of unavoidable, congenital issues that I have to deal with. Many, many people have other sorts of congenital issues which will make going barefoot painful.
you probably have some kind of problem with the fascia at the bottom of your foot
Nope. The pain is primarily around the edge of the heel. It's hard to explain, but definitely not tendon or ligament pain.
True if you have congenital issues eg: flat-footedness then you'd need to get special shoes with support built in.
I tend to think that apparent effect comes from habitual misuse of the body.
It's possible that millions of years of mammalian evolution could have just screwed-up and puked-out some creature that was mal-adapted everywhere but somehow took-over the earth. But I suspect that what's happening is that human are pretty adapted to many activities but we are so darn flexible to we put themselves in situations even beyond our adaptability.
I'm at the computer maybe 9-10+ hours/day. So this has been essentially a complete change in my habits of physical movement/rest.
I do martial arts and some body work regularly, so I started out in what I considered to be good physical shape but it definitely has been ... challenging.
I think I'm getting closer to adjusted currently. When I began, there were times when my legs felt something like lead.
"Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to be taken off the feet while sitting" 
Of course, having said that, we probably weren't designed for the amount of sitting a typical officer worker does, and certainly weren't designed for being sedentary.
Regardless, it is certainly the case that we have evolved to be able to sit comfortably and take weight off our legs - that, I think, is indisputable.
I would argue that the buttocks provide a structural base for the weight of the body which would otherwise be transmitted through the upper parts of the legs more so than they are in reality. That is something of a guess, however.
YES, the media can exaggerate the result of a single study and people will overreact to it (see: "margarine is healthier than butter," then more recently the reverse). In this particular study, the results may not be conclusive enough to act on; that aside, there ARE other health studies that have been successfully repeated (for example, the negative effects of hydrogenated oils/trans fats) that are also frequently dismissed by a media-weary public as yet another "health scare meme".
The "trans fats are bad" idea is finally going mainstream, but IMO it took years longer than it should have because of the media's tendency to jump at the first study showing a surprising result, and thus inuring the public to "bad health news," which a majority of people then proceed to ignore (and a minority jump onto the latest bandwagon).
In the case of standing vs. sitting, I saw this study months ago, and at the same time I started feeling uncomfortable sitting for long periods, and the combination caused me to build a standing desk. I'm now standing most days, and for me it's a great improvement -- YMMV, and not saying it proves anything but possibly that my circulation wasn't so great.
Regardless, I'm on this particular bandwagon, and it improves my QoL, so I'm staying, regardless of the scorn people may have for health fads. ;)
The media always need a new villain. If it were settled that an obvious component of our diet were the culprit for most of our problems, much of the drama and conflict would be drained from one of their favorite story lines.
Your example of trans fats is a good one. Trans fats are bad relative to other fats, but nowhere near as sickening as sugar and corn syrup. Unfortunately, reporting on the evils of trans fats is in its shiny glamorous stage, so we are bombarded with stories about it, which creates a skewed perspective on what matters to our dietary health.
Today's health crises, which exploded around 1980, can be traced back to the media trumpeting the twin (false) claims that dietary fat is evil and that corn syrup is a healthful alternative to sugar. Given the power of the media, this predictably resulted in an explosion of corn syrup uptake and consequently an explosion in obesity, diabetes, and probably cancer.
I'm surprised you think this is only the media's fault:
"In January 1977, after listening to the testimony of Ancel Keys and other doctors and scientists intent on promoting the unsupported Dietary Fat-Heart hypothesis, the Committee published the "Dietary Goals for the United States" recommending that all Americans reduce their fat, saturated fat and cholesterol consumption, and increase their carbohydrate consumption to 55-60% of daily calories."
My point about trans fats is that it's been known for YEARS that they're bad, and as you point out it's only recent that people have been believing it. I've been avoiding trans fats for over ten years, since well before most people had heard of them, but the original studies showing they were bad news date back to the 50s.
I think you may have misunderstood my point. What I'm saying is that the "it's another health scare meme" is a dangerous concept because it causes people to ignore ALL health advice they hear. Your point about false health claims reinforces my point: Because a lot of "health claims" made in the press are based on a single study (which could be poorly designed or just randomly showing a result), people now ignore all health advice. They've lost faith that any health advice can possibly be useful to them.
That's why I'm saying that it's a dangerous habit to label every new health report as a "health scare meme." On the other hand, it's also important to take pretty much anything you see in the press with a grain of salt. My hope is that, now that we have Google and other online research options, it will be easier to debunk the garbage ("my all protein diet is good for you!") and determine what the studies really show.
In general I'm feeling better about working, which is why I said it improved my QoL.
That being said, I'm a bit overwhelmed nowadays with all of the health scares. Sometimtes I feel like whatever I do, I'm killing myself. So I just give up and live my life. I'm going to die one way or another, right? (Not exactly good philosophy.)
I started having a similar experience this year and also started feeling better while on vacation. When I returned home and it immediately got worse again I realized my mattress was part of the problem (the symptoms were often the worst in the morning, though they persisted all day). It was not a terrible mattress, but over the years had gotten a little saggy in the middle. I bought a new mattress and while, the problem hasn't completely gone away, it has gotten a lot better.
But still, I probably would have to sit down to work because it would be too dangerous to walk around while concentrating on something else. Maybe standing or lying down would be an advantage.
Things that are good for us are bad in large amounts (vitamins), and things that are bad can be used for 'good' (botox).
Find what works for you, and makes you feel how you want, and stick with it. There will never be better advice since everyone is different. But where is the scare in that? :)
However, all of these recent sitting news articles seem to be based on the same study. Perhaps the study is flawless, or perhaps the data collection was flawed, or the results can't be replicated, or something else went wrong. In that case, the news stories are prematurely trying to worry people into being into sitting less. I think being active is awesome, but it should be something you do because you enjoy it, or because you have weighed the pros and cons and decided it's worthwhile; it should not be something you do because you were misled about the the health risks.
"Specifically, he found that men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. And many of these men routinely exercised."
Well, is he controlling for those who exercise or not? If not, then what is the point?
As for controlling for exercise: the whole point of the article is that researchers are finding that outcomes are at least reliably associated (with or without causality) with sedentary activity, that is, specifically measuring the amount of not-doing-anything-physical.
The Warren study very specifically looked at driving and watching TV as it relates to cardiovascular disease. In the introduction, they specifically address your contention:
Sedentary pursuits represent a unique aspect of human
behavior and should not be viewed as simply the extreme
low end of the physical activity continuum. For example,
several studies have demonstrated that excess TV viewing
time, independent from overall physical activity levels, is
adversely associated with metabolic risk factors (18)
[ed: ref 18 is Hamilton MT, Hamilton DG, Zderic TW. Role of low energy expenditure and sitting in obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes. 2007;56(11):2655–67.]
You could rule out genetic and family environment factors by comparing identical twins who have different sitting habits. My bet is that a big chunk, if not all, of the effect here could be explained by that. For the remaining "effect", you'd still have the issue of non-family environmental collinearity, though.
Maybe you could find a job where people were randomly assigned to sitting vs. standing tasks. That'd be a nifty little natural experiment
I am a big fan of twin studies, though (my background is in behavior genetics). Take the example of smoking. The most solid demonstration that smoking was bad for your health (aside from maybe the experiments on other mammals) was comparison of twins where one twin smoked and the other didn't.
Wow, there are people who sit only 1.5 hours per day on average? I spend more time sitting on my way to work and back alone.
Looking at chimps, gorillas, orang utan seems to conform that. In my limited knowledge, those species spend hours sitting or lying down.
=> I would guess it is not the sitting, but the sitting for long stretches in the same posture that is the problem.
Between this sitting-is-death and the sugar-is-death, there should be tens of millions of dead office workers who died before 60 in the past few decades.
If early death is independent of white-collar status, then you'd expect about 10 million dead office workers who died before 60 in the past few decades, even if sitting and sugar have no effects on death risk.
Previous HN discussion:
ps: standing desk :)
I'd gone through a series of various expensive "ergo" chairs, and yet I would get a feeling of suffocation when sitting for too long. Now I can work for extended periods without the need to "get up and walk around."
And when particularly good music comes on the radio, I can dance to it during compiles. Yes, I work in an office where no one can see me. ;)
I feel like my posture is better and my back is stronger.
To that - with my hours cutback at work I now have a home office with a standing/sitting desk now, it's great.
Total cost: around $200.
My office: http://yfrog.com/h7m5ajhyj
So far today, I've gotten far more done than a normal Monday morning, and my energy level is way up.
This could be good.
The problem is my current standing desk only allows standing. I'm 100% committed to standing if I am working. That's fine 95% of the time, but there is that 5% (like after I've worked out for the day or already put in 10+ hours of standing but found I need to get some emergency/last minute stuff done) where I really do not want to stand.
After two weeks I feel like my conclusion is the ideal desk is one that can easily adjust between standing and sitting, but stand most of the time.
'Should I get a Standing Desk?' - http://www.yewhealth.com/2011/04/03/should-i-get-a-standing-...
That said, I suspect that watching TV all day everyday would kill a person, eventually, because thinking without a break depletes the CNS of resources which would otherwise be used to regulate the body.
(Note: TV watching is a kind of externally driven thinking. More draining than thinking about the show would be the guilt thoughts caused by watching TV all day given that our culture believes (a) that watching too much TV is bad, and (b) that productive work is good.)
However, it's misleading to claim that sitting around all day is unhealthy. For instance, you won't get a heart attack if you are a Buddhist Monk sitting in meditation.
Also, moving around all day would kill people, eventually, by similar means and for similar reasons to TV watching. For example:
There's a claim that I won't buy without some sort of a citation.
who not only died while meditating in a lotus position, but supposedly failed to decompose afterwards. (I don't know whether it was a heart attack though...)
I'm going to make a real effort to use those 5 minutes to walk around and do something instead of look at lolcats from now on...
That has to be the stupidest quote I've ever read. Are you telling me that if I sit less often, I'll be less likely to die?
But now, researchers are beginning to suspect that even if you engage in regular exercise daily, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day.