The walking, the waiting, and the standing while riding all contribute to a more active lifestyle, Levine said.
Want to draw attention to yourself? Stay standing in a sit-down restaurant.
I did that.
On both days of my standing experiment, I went to lunch with a buddy in the Minneapolis skyways. They sat, I stood.
My first lunch date thought I was ridiculous. She tried several times to get me to sit down because she felt like I was about to bolt at any moment. Conversation was difficult. We ended up eating quickly.
At a crowded skyway restaurant the next day, my lunch companion scanned the room looking for an empty table. She spotted an opening at the bar and made a beeline. We stood together and enjoyed our lunch and our conversation.
I was grateful to be able to stand — without standing out.
Converting a couch potato
At home, it didn’t feel odd to stand while I was cooking — or eating. But watching TV? That’s not something most of us do on our feet. And we do a lot of it.
This is a couch potato nation, after all, with Americans spending an average of three hours a day in front of the tube. The relatively new ability to binge-watch hasn’t helped. And I’ll admit it, I’m a binger. My latest favorite is FX’s spy drama “The Americans.”
After eating dinner, I fired up my iPad and stood in the living room, cradling the device in my arms. I lasted one episode before I gave up and flopped on the couch.
I was physically tired and I felt like I’d given standing binge-watching a good shot.
Besides, I knew my anti-sitting experiment was taking things to the extreme. No one would — or should — stand all the time. But those 48 hours made me hyper-aware of what a chair-centric world we live in and how difficult it is to fight the urge to sit down.
Ever hopeful, Levine believes that more people will start taking a stand for their health.
“What we find is that when people become more active during their workday, they also become more active in their leisure time,” he said.
But he recommends starting slow. Get up from your desk once an hour, for example.