There was a nice piece in the N.Y. Times earlier this week concerning a recent Science paper on obesity. The upshot: People tend to be sedentary because they are overweight, not vice-versa as many people had long thought/hoped.
While that is perfectly straightforward stuff, there are some good “Why things bite back”-ish factoids in the piece, including this:
…in 1920 before cars were common, people in Rochester [N.Y.] walked an average of 1.6 miles a day to and from work, which burned about 150 calories a day.
Perhaps needless to say, most people today don’t walk that much in a week.
The best bit in the story, however, is how the lead researcher has taken his own research to heart. He stands instead of sitting at meetings, he paces the office while on the phone, and his office computer set up is kinda unusual:
“My computer is stationed over the treadmill,” he said. “I work at 0.7 miles an hour.”
A stand-up desk might seem simpler, but he prefers the treadmill.
“Standing still is quite difficult,” he said. “You have a natural tendency to want to move your legs. Zero point seven is the key. You don’t get sweaty, you can’t jiggle too much. It’s about one step a second. It’s very comfortable. Most people seem to like it around 0.7.”
He has installed a second treadmill alongside his own, and he encourages visitors to hop on and stroll while they talk to him.
[Update] After being reminded a couple of times by posters here, I fixed the closing sentence in the first para of this entry. I had things scrambled to the point that even I wasn’t sure what I originally meant. Thanks folks.