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Beware Attorneys, Court Reporters, and Legal Videographers “Sitting is the New Smoking”

At a lecture on health by Angel Chelik of Sea Level Workouts, Angel made the statement, “As you’ve probably heard, sitting is the new smoking.”  The audience was made up of court reporters. Angel had everyone’s attention.

Following the lecture, I Googled “Sitting is the new smoking,” and was shocked to find article after article about medical studies and experts writing about the hazards of sitting.

The following are some of the maladies that stem from sitting:

  1. Sitting increases the risk for obesity
  2. Prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing Type II diabetes. Sitting for extended periods of time effects blood sugar levels and insulin in the body.
  3. Frequent sitters are susceptible to muscle issues. (No kidding.)
  4. LPL or lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that breaks down fat and uses it as energy. When the enzyme is not working as it should, fat is stored.
  5. Sitting makes it more difficult for the “feel-good” hormones to reach the receptors; therefore sitting for long periods of time is associated with a higher risk of developing depression.
  6. Heart disease
  7. Perhaps colon cancer and other types of cancers.

Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, James A. Levine, M.D., made the statement in a recent New York Times article, “Excessive sitting is a lethal activity.” Levine subsequently created the idea of the “treadmill desk.” Mike Miller, NCRA Director, would attest to the benefits of the treadmill desk.

Reading a Pittsburgh Quarterly article, “Is sitting the new smoking,” Marc T. Hamilton, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Baton Rouge, LA, stated, “As soon as we sit, electrical activity in our leg muscles stop, impacting a variety of metabolic pathways influencing heart disease and diabetes. For example, an enzyme that acts like the vacuum cleaner for blood fat is shut off, leading to other effects of on cholesterol metabolism.”

What is disappointing is researchers are finding that the ill effects of prolonged sitting can’t be fixed with a gym workout. “’Even if people meet the current recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity on most days each week, there may be significant adverse metabolic and health effects from prolonged sitting, concluded the authors of a 2009 editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.”

What can we do? Hamilton states, “Any type of brief, yet frequent muscle contraction throughout the day, may be necessary to short-circuit unhealthy molecular signals causing metabolic diseases.”

So what does this mean for court reporters, legal videographers, and attorneys who have to sit through depositions? With the seven-hour rule in place, many depositions last eight to nine hours with a timed seven-hour sit-down. And because the testimony is crucial, and time is of the essence, the breaks are quick. I know I have sat through breaks editing the transcript and replying to emails; thus, I don’t even stand up for four hours at a time.

My goal is to become more disciplined and force myself to stand and walk around the room, do something, during breaks, maybe create an exercise room at the Discovery Conference Centre. When no one is looking I will do some shoulder and open-the-chest exercises. I do notice after getting the blood circulating, when we go back on the record, I write cleaner and faster.

I don’t know of an easy solution for court reporters. Having a standing tripod? That might feel great for a two-hour stint during a deposition or trial. If anyone uses a standing tripod, please let me know what you think. I would suggest that videographers stand occasionally during depositions. I have seen attorneys and witnesses ask for permission to stand during examinations because of back pain, and everyone in the room immediately says, “Please stand whenever you need to. Don’t even ask.” I believe most people who have had any type of back or knee issues could attest that sitting causes discomfort. I know of two judges in San Diego that stand while on the bench.

I wanted to share my research with everyone in my wonderful profession as well as all of the sitters in the legal professions. Let’s all stand up for our bodies. We deserve it!

 

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