Quantified Self: If Sitting Is The New Smoking…

Sitting Is the New Smoking…then I smoked a lot during this winter break! I just came back from a three week, hectic trip to India, Hong Kong and China spending time with family. This also included visiting extended family and friends that we hadn’t seen in a while. When we were on the bus from Guangzhou to Hong Kong airport, I couldn’t help wonder how much time we had spent during the trip sitting around. I was, of course, thinking about the amazing TED video by Nilofer Merchant where she talks about how sitting is the new smoking in Silicon Valley.

So my kids and I started counting the number of hours we had spent on planes, trains, buses, cars and auto-rickshaws mostly sitting around getting from one place to another. The result wasn’t pretty.

Sitting Is The New Smoking

We added up a total of 85 hours of sitting during the 3 week vacation and here’s how they break down:

  • Planes: 36 hours
  • Cars: 29 hours
  • Trains: 10 hours
  • Buses: 4 hours
  • Airport: 4 hours
  • Auto Rickshaws: 2 hours

That’s roughly 6 hours/day of sitting around over a 3 week period. Of course, this doesn’t include catching up on email and sitting around chatting with friends and family. On the brighter side, here are the positive things I did during the vacation to counter the smoking sitting. Ate inordinate amounts of awesome home Mom cooked food (picked up a few recipes too). In Bangalore I consistently walked up/down to the 6th floor (19 steps/floor) and also got in 30 miles of interval runs on the treadmill. In Hong Kong, I walked up/down to the 17th floor (16 steps/floor), rarely used the elevator, got lost for 11 miles and ran up the 250 steps to the giant Buddha statue in Lantau. Finally, managed to draw crop circles in Strava while I was in Guangzhou. Hopefully all that made up for the 85 hours of sitting around! I can also positively say that I didn’t inhale. 🙂

What do you think of the sitting is the new smoking video?

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