Be a Hero, Don’t Give up that Seat
It used to be that offering your subway seat to an elderly lady was the right thing to do and it seems that it still is, especially when she’s hyperventilating or having a heart attack.
It’s considered a sign of good breeding. Don’t be surprised if you’re glared at long and hard by fellow passengers if you don’t stand up and allow her to take your place.
But why should it be a big deal if you don’t? Squeezed against fellow passengers, she doesn’t run the risk of falling down. True, she may get smothered if she finds herself situated between two horizontally challenged individuals. I guess that would be the pits on hot summer days, when everybody smells differently and the air-conditioning system doesn’t work properly. But that’s life in the big city. Everybody is entitled to a little inconvenience once in a while.
You can ignore those unsolicited stares by pretending to read, text, or much better, take a nap. Besides, you know you’re not getting a free ride. You’ve paid for your fare share like everybody else.
The question is, even if your eyes are closed, can you avoid the constant nagging from your conscience?
I’ve got good news for you. Yes, you can! By not giving up your seat, you’ve done her a great favor. By remaining seated, you’re paying the ultimate price of prolonging her life and shortening yours by several years.
Sitting on your butt proves to be dangerous to your well-being. It’s been linked to premature death.
A study conducted by Professor David Dunstan of Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne revealed that each hour spent sitting was associated with an 11 percent increased risk of death from all causes and a 9 percent increased risk of cancer death.
Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who has been studying the effects of sitting for years, couldn’t agree more. In his own research, he found out that “adults who spent more than four hours a day sitting in front of the television had an 80 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV. This risk was independent of other risk factors such as smoking or diet.”
Dr. Levine further pointed out that spending extra time at the gym doesn’t seem to offset the risk. What could help is less time sitting and more time moving around.
He added, and I quote, “Simply by standing, you burn three times as many calories as you do sitting. Muscle contractions, including the ones required for standing, seem to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars. When you sit down, muscle contractions cease and these processes stall.”
So the next time you get on a crowded train during commute hours, keep your head high, be a knight in shining armor, and rush to the nearest available seat. You’d make your mother very proud.