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Home · Book Reports · 2017 · Get Up Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It

Published: December 26, 2017 (6 years 3 months ago.)
Tags:  Health · Posture

The book in...
One sentence:
A look at how a sedentary life can lead to a plethora of negative health consequences and how these can be reversed with the adoption of a more active lifestyle.

Five sentences:
This book is written in a casual conversational tone and includes many stories that make it an absolute breeze to read. Much of what is presented feels like common sense, such that sitting too much leads to obesity and diabetes, but this common sense backed by a mountain of interesting studies to support the claims. Another somewhat common sense conclusion is that rural and less industrialized populations include more active people which are generally healthier and happier, despite often living in what many westerners would call poverty. Luckily these negative health consequences can be overcome relatively easily with a few lifestyle adjustments such as working at a treadmill desk, having walk-and-talk meetings, of allowing students to move about freely in the classroom. These changes not only counteract the excess sitting, but lead to increased productivity and profitability in the business world while academic performance increases and ADHD diagnosis decrease when fidgety students are given an outlet for their excess energy.

designates my notes. / designates important.


The most interesting point to me was that the communication between your brain and muscles is a two-way street, signaling when it is time to move or rest. In situations where people are forced to sit, such as in offices and schools, the connection between brain and muscles atrophies, making it harder to get up in the first place. The effect works both ways though, the more active you remain, the easier it is to resume activity after a rest period. Simply put: the more you sit, the more you sit.

Also interesting was the fact that going to the gym for 30 minutes a day is not enough to counteract sitting all day. Regular movement is far more effective at burning calories as well, with 100-150 calories burned per hour on a slow stroll (1 mph) treadmill for several hours a day.

There have been a few television appearances by Dr. Levin. Those I saw were not much more than puff pieces to promote the book, although you can see the treadmill desk in action in some of them.

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My research into this led me to build an ergonomic desk.

Exceptional Quotes

a seated body begets a sedentary mind. But the good news is, if a chairaholic takes the first step, gets up and walks, the brain, like a muscle, adapts. The walking brain fires new neuroplasticity factors, and over time the brain adapts to its owner’s newfound propensity to walk. Because the brain is constantly adapting, it takes about three weeks for brain change to occur. A chairaholic can become a walker in three weeks. But watch out! A walker who begins to sit can just as easily become a chairaholic.

Over the last few generations, millions of brains have become sedated by sedentariness. Most people in the modern Western world are sitters. Just as the brain adapts to chairdom, so does the whole of society. If most people become sitters, the structure of society gradually adapts to become chair-based. No sidewalks are laid in new neighborhoods, offices and homes adapt so that sitting is the default body position, theater chairs become softer and wider, drive-throughs develop and shopping becomes a wrist action rather than a leg-based activity. Chicken or egg—did society make the sitters, or did sitters make the society? The answer: Both occurred.

If people sit after a meal, their blood sugar peaks like a mountain for about two hours. If, however, people take a 15-minute walk at 1 mph after a meal, the mountains become safe, gentle, rolling hills. With a 1-mph walk after a meal, blood sugar peaks are halved.

In the internal American voice -the voice inside our collective head- ‘wealth’ and ‘happiness’ are synonymous. Implicit in that narrative is that winning (wealth and success) means beating out the competition. Winning is drilled into us in preschool.

We pushed the five weapons of behavioral change remorselessly: stimulus control, monitoring, cognitive reconstruction, reward/penalty systems and social support.

Table of Contents

· Introduction

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· Chapter 1: In The Beginning

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· Chapter 2: Feed Me, Move Me

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· Chapter 3: The Brain Strain

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· Chapter 4: Despite Your Chain, You Are An Individual

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· Chapter 5: The Chair-Cursed Body

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· Chapter 6: The Chair-Cursed Mind

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· Chapter 7: The Chair-Cursed Car

· Chapter 8: The Chairman’s Vision

· Chapter 9: Solutions

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· Chapter 10: Invent

· Chapter 11: Work

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· Chapter 12: Learn

· Chapter 13: Get Up, Step 1, Get Personal

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· Chapter 14: Get Up, Step 2, Plan

· Chapter 15: Get Up, Step 3, Weapons

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· Chapter 16: Get Up, Step 4, Play

· Chapter 17: Defeat the Chairman