Irina Werning has taken a bunch of old photos (20 or more years old) and recreated them with the same subjects. The effect is astounding:
via Daring Fireball
Another point the author makes is, by exposing ourselves to bright lights after dark — even in bed, we interfere with the natural melatonin production necessary for a proper sleep. And while you may think you can get by on only few hours of rest, it’s taking its toll. Not getting a proper sleep has been tied to everything from obesity to breast cancer. A new study out of Israel has even tied lower melatonin production — because of light exposure after dark — to lower infant mental capacity.
Recently I’ve been watching TV in bed, and this article gives some good reasons why that’s a bad idea. I also like to read on my iPad in bed which could have similar negative effects. Fortunately, the Kindle and Instapaper apps both support a light text on black background mode, which when combined with lowering the brightness of the screen hopefully compensates to the extent that the effects are not the same as if you were watching a bright screen or had bright lights on.
In 2009 Dr Peter Katzmarzyk and colleagues at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center published an influential longitudinal paper examining the links between time spent sitting and mortality in a sample of more than 17,000 Canadians (available here). Not surprisingly, they report that time spent sitting was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality (there was no association between sitting and deaths due to cancer). But what is fascinating is that the relationship between sitting time and mortality was independent of physical activity levels. In fact, individuals who sat the most were roughly 50% more likely to die during the follow-up period than individuals who sat the least, even after controlling for age, smoking, and physical activity levels. Further analyses suggested that the relationship between sitting time and mortality was also independent of body weight. This suggests that all things being equal (body weight, physical activity levels, smoking, alcohol intake, age, and sex) the person who sits more is at a higher risk of death than the person who sits less.
Should we be concerned about the health impact of sedentary behavior? Yes.
Author Neville Owen, who surveyed multiple studies on the effects of sedentary lifestyles, concluded that an increasingly sedentary lifestyle contributes to the growing rates of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. His conclusions, published in a 2008 edition of the “British Journal of Sports Medicine,” recommends possible interventions to break up people’s daily sitting time as part of public health practice.
This article from Livestrong.com says that for every hour you spend standing instead of sitting, you burn around 50 more calories. That might not seem like much, but it adds up; if I spend 6 hours out of my day standing at my desk, that’s 300 calories burned with no extra effort or time commitment.
I’m enjoying my choice to stand throughout the workday more and more.