My wife and I are still old-school enough that we still have the newspaper delivered twice a week. The Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star has grocery coupons, occasionally meaty stories of local interest, and Bill Amend’s FoxTrot. The Thursday edition has a weekly section with a few pages focusing on our side of Indianapolis, a thorough list of indie films opening Friday in large cities that will never see the light of day in Indy, and the wicked insight of the current bearer of the proud Miss Manners mantle.
The Sunday paper is still the heaviest newspaper of the week, but once I’ve finished perusing the worthwhile parts, the bulk of it doesn’t take long to plow through. I don’t shop through the classifieds. I don’t like sports. Their home decorating tips are for nicer houses and neighborhoods than ours. Letters from readers are partisan overreactions of gut feeling without the burden of spending five minutes researching their topic first. And the Procter & Gamble coupons always offer chintzy discounts on the same dozen overpriced products our household never uses.
Most quickly skipped are the two or three pages buried in the back of the lead section that cover recent college science studies. Usually they’re finds and results along the lines of “Study Concludes Too Much Coffee Ruins Sleep” or “Scientists Declare Coffee Drinkers Live Longer” or “Purdue Team Says Coffee Causes Tusk Cancer in Narwhals” or “Statistics Prove Coffee Improves Navel Lint Production” or “Survey Shows Coffee Causes Unnecessary Medical Surveys”. Those add little to my life and consequently receive not even the courtesy of a five-second skimming.
I always figured such pieces were a subtle form of space-filler between back-section ads. However, I was surprised to run across an online article of the same variety. Apparently, employees who sit down a lot are more likely to be sedentary and die more quickly that average:
“All-cause mortality increased as BMI increased from normal weight to overweight to obese (5.0, 6.8, and 9.4 deaths/1000 person-years, respectively). The trend was similar for CV/metabolic disease mortality (1.8, 2.8, and 4.4 deaths/1000 person-years, respectively). After adjusting for BMI and other variables (light and hard exercise, education, sex, general health, smoking status, and cardiac disease), sedentary work was associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiac/metabolic disease mortality compared with occupations with significant walking, significant walking or lifting, or heavy physical labor.”
The conclusion reached through the miracle of science: somehow, non-exercise doesn’t give us the exercise we need to live.
Even more stunning: the article egregiously fails to warn me that I’m killing myself slowly through the mere act of sitting here, reading that article, and then typing about it. I don’t even have to be at work to place myself at risk. (And YOU, the Viewers at Home: unless you’re jogging and reading this on your cell phone at the same time, I’m enabling your own descent into the abyss. Dreadful sorry about that.) Sure, my fingers will stay healthy, but mere digits cannot support an entire arterial network on their own. Alas, if only they could. Perhaps college science should find a way to make that happen. Until that transcendent day, the lives of millions of cubicle dwellers and Internet denizens hang in the balance.
Really, though, I’m not sure how this merited posting online. Most websites don’t have space to fill, do they? At least I have an excuse: I’m distracted by the need to prepare for our road trip this weekend and should be doing other things right now. I doubt the purveyors of that special report on can say the same. If they can, awesome. I look forward to swapping Superman Celebration memories with them in person. Perhaps we should make a point of jogging in place while we share.