Wow. The man in this photo sure seems to enjoy sitting down —probably because he doesn't know it's going to kill him.
In a 2010 study, doctors from the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish School of Sport and Health revealed that too much sitting and "not just a lack of exercise", may contribute to heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.
And the news gets even better: it's still true in 2011!
James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is a leader in "inactivity studies," and has found that sitting (or just being awake and not moving) sends your muscles' electrical activity plummeting. And hitting the gym after work does little to change those effects: "Excessive sitting is a lethal activity," he said.
So, short of changing your occupation to 'farmer' or 'ranch hand', researchers are recommending that you become incredibly neurotic and fidgety so you don't die:
In a 1999 study he found that people who fidget and make little movements tend to keep weight off better, even if they spend the same time sitting down as everyone else. He's nicknamed these little movements Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or NEAT.
Finally, my inability to sit still for very long can now be categorized as 'neat' instead of 'off-putting and largely distracting'.
Sitting: Still The Deadliest Sedentary Activity [Gothamist]