Take a Seat (no, don’t).

chair w/ text that says I'm going to kill you

[Image of a blue, mod, comfy chair with black text that reads “I’m going to kill you”]

I have something important to tell you all. Are you sitting down?

Maybe it’s the anxiety disorder talking, but I can’t take another “Sitting Will KILL YOU!” article. They are everywhere. Google “sitting kills you” and you’re greeted with a zillion terrifying headlines and even scarier image results. In one image, a demonic black figure lurks menacingly behind a white chair, I mean deathtrap, as the text informs us that “sitting increases risk of death up to 40%.” I hate these cartoons. I hate these articles. I hate these pernicious reminders of what I’m often assured is an inevitable, untimely death, even if I exercise. Awesome.

I get it. I really really get it. I am one wheelchair slip-on-the-banana-peel away from the grave because I’m a professional, full-time sitter. I’ve been doing it for years and my sitting credentials are impeccable. I could outsit Marina Abramovic any day of the week. I don’t foresee anything happening that will change my wheelie status into walkie status and I’m totally fine with that.

But.

I’d love the opportunity to find ways to move my body and exercise more. I think my body and ever-anxious mind would benefit. But finding accessible gyms, heated swimming pools with lifts, yoga studios and whatever else you can think of is really really hard. Not to mention the extras of figuring out costs, transportation, and any personal help I might need to make it happen.
I realize these articles about sitting being a deathtrap aren’t geared toward me or other physically disabled people specifically. But we never seem to be included in the conversation despite our risks from sitting being the highest.

So what are our options? How can we take care of ourselves with so many barriers when sitting is, you know, what we do?

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2 thoughts on “Take a Seat (no, don’t).

  1. I’ve felt this exact way myself, being a wheelchair user. I also had to explain to one of my past universities why putting caution tape across the elevator doors on “take the stairs to class day” was actually not a cute and funny commentary on the “obesity epidemic.”

    “Healthy lifestyle” is such a deeply ablist concept that it’s difficult for me to approach on any level, even though I do exercise and I do like to eat well. Anyone who engages with “health” as a function of body size is automatically programmed to see many factors of life on wheels as “bad” – even when they don’t see *me* as bad, they “worry about my health.”

    We need to start a conversation about this. The disability community deserves to be taken on its own terms, without the toxic influence of the diet industry.

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