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Your Office Chair is Killing You!

05/13/2010

Public Enemy #1

The chair you slide into every morning is out to get you.

Arianne Cohen of Bloomberg Businessweek says “Meet public enemy No. 1 in today’s workplace.” Cohen continues, “If you’re reading this article sitting down—the position we all hold more than any other, for an average of 8.9 hours a day—stop and take stock of how your body feels. Is there an ache in your lower back? A light numbness in your rear and lower thigh? Are you feeling a little down? These symptoms are all normal, and they’re not good.”

James A. Levine, an obesity specialist at the Mayo Clinic, pinpointed why, despite similar diets, some people are fat and others aren’t. “We found that people with obesity have a natural predisposition to be attracted to the chair, and that’s true even after obese people lose weight,” he says. “What fascinates me is that humans evolved over 1.5 million years entirely on the ability to walk and move. And literally 150 years ago, 90% of human endeavor was still agricultural. In a tiny speck of time we’ve become chair-sentenced,” Levine says.

Tom Fee, Principal & Managing Partner at Vector Wealth Management in Minneapolis, is in the same camp as Levine. Tom Fee found that when sitting his body burns 8 calories an hour – or as Tom say’s “8 calories more than being in a coma.” When standing Fee burns 36 calories an hour. Walking at 1.7 mph he burns 136 calories an hour. Walking became the only option for the fitness minded investment manager. Off the shelf solutions were not readily available. So Tom set out to create his own solution. A custom desk, a great treadmill, jig-saw, electrical tape (splicing wire) and viola – The Fee Walking Desk!

Tom Fee Vector Wealth Managment

Fee's Walking Desk

Under the hood

Fee admits he’s obsessive (a trait he says is what every investor wants in their wealth manager). Wearing a wireless headset, reading from an oversized computer monitor – he walks his way through the day. Only infrequently does a bit of breathlessness come through in a phone conversation. Otherwise his clients have no idea Fee is walking on a treadmill. He estimates his day to be made up of 30% walking, 65% standing and 5% sitting.

Clearly Tom’s onto something here. Now one of his partners is joining the walking wealth management movement. And the killer chair? There’s one in his office for looks.

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