The health conscious are out attacking “sit”, a simple word now humbled and maligned for, frankly, just sitting around. Sit too much and you’ll expend fewer calories and, according to the experts, risk the onset of a number of diseases, such as diabetes.
Many are sitting up and taking notice, as all these concerns don’t sit well with our era. The New York Times (G. Reynolds in “How Many Calories We Burn When We Sit, Stand or Walk”, 22 June) published findings from a study about the calories burned when sitting, standing and walking at work; while walking obviously helped, the difference between sitting and standing was not that great. So is it too soon to throw sit out with the bathwater? Laziness aside, “sit” may actually fit in the following instances:
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about this issue, sit yourself down and think hard about it. Or, sit on it for a few days until your instincts lead you in the right direction. Better yet, sit down, enjoy an iced tea (good advice on a hot summer’s day) and stop thinking about it. Once refreshed, you can start thinking about it some more.
In fact, taking a seat may help you stay fresh and move an agenda forward. Sports teams will sit players for one game so they are ready to run harder the next. And the committees many of us sit on sit every month because their members are committed to good governance. If you’re lucky, you’ll sit as a presiding judge over what’s right and wrong.
But if you can’t sit still and are constantly fidgeting, you’re probably burning a few more calories than doing nothing. Add even more variety to your life by taking a cue from nature. A cat knows at least two ways to sit: curling its front paws comfortably underneath its chest, or planting those paws firmly on the ground in an upright position. You may parlay your admiration for cats into house-sitting one, but just be sure your neighbour isn’t filling in as a dog-sitter.
Rest assured that the future looks rosy, as long as children learn how to sit up straight – good training for the next generation. Tests of character and minds are remembered all too well : sitting final exams was and will always be a rite of passage. Eventually, sitting one day for your portrait will not only be a test of stamina but also a true compliment. And, if you wear something that sits well on you, your likeness will turn even more heads.
Those who guess right on the financial markets will be sitting pretty at the end of the year. Some people are advised to sit tight and keep their savings under their mattress. Many others who sit on their hands will miss the opportunity of a lifetime. Economists will realize that sitting in judgement on the new ways of the world goes beyond a simple, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (due apologies go to the Brexit dialogue) .
And if the weather is part of your daily conversation, we can’t sit by and watch global warming progress before our eyes. Although some government officials decide to sit out the discussion until the facts can no longer be disputed, others sit for constituencies that are uncomfortable with the status quo.
If all else fails, your appreciation for words sits well with an interest in knowledge, reading and writing, and probably theatre and comedy. Laughter not only serves as good medicine – it also burns calories.