In advance of his book launch, Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You & What You Can Do About It,” Dr. James A. Levine participated in this Q & A with his publisher Palgrave Macmillan.
The following will give you a glimpse at his passion and commitment to uncovering “why and how people move” and the impact it has on our bodies.
You have done some much research in this area and published so many papers. Why did you want to write this book?
Dr. Levine: I have spent 40 years, ever since I was child, on a mission to understand how—and why people move. I never expected to discover that that everyday sitting—what we all experience—is so harmful to the body and mind alike. I wrote this book to explain the science, scientists, joy of discovery, and the challenges of using science to reverse the ill-fates of seat-sentenced humanity.
Your book features many quizzes on how much we are sitting, how far our bodies have evolved, etc. Where do you rate on your quizzes, and were you happy with your own results?
Dr. Levine: A key component of Get Up! is to engage people’s minds in finding their path forwards, and a quiz engages the mind! As the writer, I too became engaged. The quiz about car seat addiction was written the night I drove 100 miles in my car between meetings. I realized there was a better way – and yes, I changed how my meetings are scheduled.
If you HAD to pick a chair to sit in, what is the best, most healthy kind of chair? (if it exists!)
Dr. Levine: The best kind of chair is the one you use to take a break between activities!
Why is it so hard for people struggling with obesity to decrease their sitting time by just over 2 hours, as you recommend to your patients?
Dr. Levine: We have created a world where sitting is implicit in almost every everyday activity: work, leisure, dating and shopping. Once a sitter becomes accustomed to sitting, finding sustainable leg-based solutions is complex. For a person, the tactics might involve converting a desk based job to a leg based one; converting sofa-based partner time to active intimacy and switch for a car commuter to a leg-based calorie burning alternative.
How do you see advancing technologies helping and hurting our society’s sitting problem?
Dr. Levine: We foresee a world of dynamic and moving people free from the chairman’s curse. The alternate is unimaginable—a world in which all children are prescribed a polypill in order to mitigate the harm of sitting disease.
What is the ideal speed for working on a treadmill desk, and why?
Dr. Levine: The most ideal speed for working on a treadmill desk is 1.1 mph—it is the natural speed at which humans move throughout the day, so it will be the most comfortable without becoming too distracting.
What is your ideal office environment of the future?
Dr. Levine: Happy, dynamic, productive, creative and healthy—where chairs are only used to take a break!
The news is full of articles about why
You can hear Dr. Levine speak more about this topic during the upcoming ErgoExpo™ Wednesday Webinar, August 13, 2014, or take his Chair Quiz at Juststand.org/getup. Dr. Levine’s book is now available everywhere books are sold.