That is a mold of a butt. Probably a nicer butt than mine, but a butt just the same. I have a similar imprint on my chair after this past week. See, I had some good news–a request for a full–and felt the strong urge to read through my manuscript. One. More. Time. After not looking at the thing for about a month, you might imagine what happened. I wrote that? What the hell was that line supposed to mean? God, that’s sappy. Ugh, a cliche? Typo there. Um, I can write better dialogue than that. Don’t need that sentence. And so on, and so on. The read-through became a re-write-through. Thus, the imprinted chair.
Which brings me to today’s post: the big problem with butt-in-chair (BIC) syndrome.
March, which just went out like a lamb somewhere in the world but not my hometown, was officially DVT month in the US. But I think it’s an issue we writers need to concern ourselves with every month of the year. DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, a condition caused by slow bloodflow in the deep veins of the legs, leading to large blood clots and an ensuing “lung attack.”
Ironically, I received an email yesterday from a researcher I queried last year about this time, someone invested in learning more about the causes of DVT–Dr. Richard Beasley. Last year, Dr. Beasley, a researcher with both the University of Southampton and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, alluded to some new evidence re: how sitting at work can increase your risk for DVT. The study hadn’t been finalized, but he put me on a notification list. (Medical research, you might be interested to know, can sometimes take as long to publish as fiction; Beasley’s research was submitted to the Internal Medicine Journal last March, and was just published.)
What Beasley found, when quizzing people who’d been hospitalized for DVT, is that one third of them–34%–sat for long stretches at their job over the the last month. “Long stretches” meant this:
* sitting for at least 8 hours/day, 3 hours straight without standing OR
* sitting for 10 hours/day, 2 hours straight without standing OR
* sitting for 12 hours/day without getting up more than once an hour
As someone who’d been putting in 12-hour days, this alarmed me. But the truth is undeniable: Sitting on your butt can put you at risk for a serious DVT.
So what can you do about it?
MOVE. Get up. Be honest with yourself about how long you’re sitting in that chair. Set out a timer. When it goes off after an hour, get up and stretch, walk. Get yourself a glass of water, which can also help prevent thickening of the blood and clotting. Repeat.
Writers write. But we have to be here–vital and, obviously, alive–to do it. If you think you’re at risk, talk to your doctor. S/he may prescribe meds to help thin your blood or advise you to wear special stockings to help keep your blood on the move.
Love a fellow writer? Forward this post. After you stand up and shake out those legs, of course.
Write on, all!