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They first became involved in research at St. Michael’s when Pat Keenan was appointed to the St. Michael’s Hospital Operating Board in 1985 as the Sisters of St. Joseph, who ran the hospital, were having trouble fundraising. He was chair of the board from 1990-1994 and was part of the team that brought in new management and fixed what he calls the hospital’s “near-death experience,” namely, a $64 million deficit. Keenan joined the board of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation in 1991.
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Using a standing desk at the office may adversely influence how much time you spend lounging in a chair at home, according to a new study of sedentary behavior. The findings subtly underscore that, when it comes to health habits and exercise, we humans have a surprising capacity to be our own worst enemies.
There is virtually unanimous scientific agreement that uninterrupted sitting is bad for us. Sitting for long stretches of time has been linked to markedly increased risks for obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, heart disease and premature death.
But it can be difficult not to sit, especially for those of us who work in offices. Past studies of deskbound workers have shown that most of us sit for about 10 hours or more every day, with the majority of that chair time occurring at work.
Such statistics account for the growing popularity of sit-stand workstations, which allow people to stand up for at least part of their workday. In experiments, workers who receive sit-stand desks generally reduce the amount of time that they spend seated during office hours, at least in the short term, and often report feeling more energetic and productive.
But the ripple effect these desks have on people’s lives has not been studied. It might seem as if standing up in one arena, when we know that doing so is healthy, should inspire us to stand up in others.