In my story Tuesday about TED, one of the speakers I interviewed in advance of her talk was Nilofer Merchant, a Silicon Valley corporate strategist. On Tuesday, Merchant had her big moment on the stage to give her three-minute talk.
The topic: "Sitting is the smoking of our generation."
"What you're doing right now, this very moment, is killing you," she told the thousands of TED attendees seated in the Long Beach Convention Center. "Sitting is so incredibly prevalent, we don't even question it. Sitting has become the smoking of our generation."
Merchant said people now sit for an average of 9.3 hours each day, compared with sleeping an average of 7.7 hours daily. This has major implications for people's health, she said.
This growing inactivity is leading to greater obesity, which is a bigger health threat than smoking, Nilofer said.
So given that so many of us are tied to our computers and cubicles, how does one change this? For Merchant, the solution came by accident, when someone she had been trying to meet suggested she join him while he walked his dog.