- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1137278994
- ISBN-13: 978-1137278999
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It
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According to Levine, codirector of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University obesity initiative and inventor of the “treadmill desk,” for every hour we spend sitting in our chairs, we lose two hours of our lives. In fact, excessive sitting is more dangerous to your health than smoking, Levine insists. He explores the history of the workplace, from the evolution from agrarian to industrial economies, and the dominance of sit-down jobs and leisure that is spreading to developing nations as well. Levine draws on research showing the rise in myriad health issues, from diabetes to cancer to heart disease, that can be traced to a sedentary life style. He goes on to highlight businesses and schools that are working to change their culture to encourage more activity and documenting the benefits in health and greater productivity. At the end of each chapter, Levine challenges readers to test their own levels of chair dependency and devise strategies for unshackling themselves from the chair. Levine mixes fascinating research, levity, and sound advice in a call to action against the modern sedentary life. --Vanessa Bush
“Anyone who takes personal health seriously can benefit from the wisdom within these pages to help reverse the present sedentary paradigm.” ―Library Journal
“We are learning that the percentage of time you spend sitting is a significant influence on health: the lower the better. In Get Up! Dr. Levine explains the science accounting for this effect and offers practical advice for changing our habits. I recommend it.” ―Andrew Weil, MD
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Yes, as some people mentioned, the author does talk about his own life. It's necessary to the tone of the book, and makes reading all that much more enjoyable. Mainly, though, this book is full of wonderful and remarkable observation, studies, and other treats that explain why being chairbound is killing us. And was, until I read this book, very literally killing me.
My case (please read if you're at all skeptical about the quality of information in this book): I'm sixty-five. I was a professional dancer, working in L.A. theatre and (later) teaching drama on campus into my fifties, when my husband divorced me for a twenty-two year old girl and a free trip to Europe (I'm not kidding). I went into depression, stopped my dance classes, and started teaching scriptwriting (so very sedentary). With the exception of Yoga practice, I was then completely sedentary. Over the years, old dance injuries locked up my neck and back and I couldn't lift my left arm above shoulder level. Doctors couldn't figure out what was going on. I had to stop Yoga. I finally stopped everything, bought a decent reclining chair, stopped teaching on campus, and began editing scripts from my recliner, on my laptop. After a lifetime of being "the skinny one," I began to gain weight. I didn't look odd, but it just wasn't me. (If Dr Levine ever comes across this confession, he'll have a stroke.)
Since reading "Get Up!", I asked my best friend (and new husband) to bring my old laptop desk up from the garage, and raised it to it's top height. I now edit standing up. Since watching movies and plays-on-tape is part of my job, I watch them while working out on a balance ball. I sucked up my embarrassment and bought a wheeled walker so I can go for walks, and go places with friends who don't mind being seen with the walker. (Southern California actors are vain to the nth degree.) I'm losing the weight I gained. And the "brain fog" is lifting.
After years of reading self-help books, having hormone panels run, seeing osteopaths, getting warnings from my cardiologist, suffering three-day migraines, and trying every new trick/self-assessment/diet to come around, I'm no longer depressed and it's getting easier to be "normal" again. I re-applied for part-time teaching again, and was accepted. I expect, by the end of the year, to be able to donate my walker and the wheelchair I've used on bad days (I forgot to mention that one) to the Salvation Army so someone who is still sitting can make use of them.
None of it would have happened if I hadn't read this book. I'd become honestly afraid to even try to exercise, but when Dr Levine said that just standing still was so far superior to sitting and reading/working, I realized I didn't have to try to run a marathon or even attempt a dance class. I just had to Get Up.
I hope this helps somebody else who has placed blame on everything but sitting in a comfy chair, and for those who have tried every self-help book (and even seen psychiatrists and other therapists). This book very honestly changed my life, and I can only say that about two other books in sixty-five years of reading.
At the heart of his books is the idea that we don't need to spend more time at the gym, but just be active throughout the day. Using a treadmill desk or adjustable height desk are the best options for office workers. However, even just standing up for two minutes every 15-20 minutes throughout the day seems to be enough to offset the negative health effects of a desk job. In only two minutes metabolic processes that are shut down by sitting are reactivated by standing, walking and almost any type of movement.
In addition to our health, Levine found that a sedentary lifestyle robs of our spark and creativity. When we are stuck to our chair, we are metaphorically stuck or stagnant in our lives. Many who have switched to a treadmill or standing desk have ended up changing careers, started painting, dancing, eating healthier, etc.
Reading his book has helped me to do exercises at work such as deep knee bends, use the downstairs bathroom and to generally be more active. At home I have set up two $20 medium height bookcases back to back to create an area in my living room where I can stand to read, write and watch TV. I don't use them all of the time, but I'm glad to get in some extra standing time before and after work.
I highly recommend this book. It may change your life and improve your health.
If it does not stir you to get up and to encourage others to get up - then you are happy with your chair life and of losing 22 minutes of life for every hour you remain seated.
I would encourage everyone to read and enjoy this book and to act on the information to change and improve their life.
We only have 1 life and too much of our time is spent seated
It has changed my life outlook and as a project designer it has changed the way I will now design my projects.