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“I found very early on that people don’t like being told what to do and people don’t like paternalism,” Levine says.

But I do think all of us—those more drawn to increased standing and those who fear it—can take something positive from the good doctor’s chair-abolishing crusade. At the very least, it should plant a thought in our heads that more movement is a good thing.

Levine explained why standing while working leads to additional activity: “People who start standing and working generally increase their movement about one or two hours extra a day. What actually happens is that once you’re standing up, the whole dynamic of the office changes. If you’re standing up you can actually see across the office. Say you want to ask someone a question, you’re more likely to walk across the office to talk to Sheila. Once you’re off your bottom, you will walk more because you’re standing up. Also, if you work when you stand up, you tend to not stand still. That activity adds up.”

Levine says workers can help themselves by making sure that they move around as little as 10 minutes every hour. So even if you don’t want to work standing up, just add some movement to other parts of your day.

“Instead of meeting up at Starbucks and sitting down, take a little stroll instead,” Levine says. “Have meetings that are walk-and-talk. It’s totally doable, with a little imagination.”

Our chairs, wonderful though they may be, have dulled our thinking. We go through our days trying to move as little as possible, and that can’t be good for our health. Whether you believe Levine’s research or not, there’s a logic here that’s difficult to deny.

Walk around and a bit and give it some thought. And keep an eye on that chair of yours—I hear those things are trying to kill us.

Rex Huppke writes for the Chicago Tribune. Send him questions by email at

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