Sedentary Executives . . . Arise

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.                     –Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve been sitting far too much lately.  Sitting in strategy meetings; sitting on airplanes; sitting at my desk writing another book; sitting in restaurants at business dinners.  My butt is flat!  And I’m beginning to realise that all this sitting is not good for me, especially at my age.

I recently ran across an article about the relationship between excessive sitting and health.  Basically, cardiac disease is significantly related to the amount of time spent sitting per day.  This article, and related ones got my attention because I tend to sit a lot.  It also frightened me a little, and here’s the back story to my concern.

My father died at age 79 after complications from surgery to fix a small aneurism on his aorta.  Not a particularly complicated operation and neither the surgeon nor my father were very concerned.  He would be up and around in a few days and would get back to normal in a relatively short time.  Well, what everyone overlooked is the fact that my dad was not very active and a substantial amount of plaque had built up in his arteries, especially in his legs.  As a result, his circulation system was partially blocked with a reduction on blood flow.  So with the trauma of the surgery and a subsequent infection, his body had a hard time fighting back due to the restricted blood circulation. Then the infection turned into pneumonia.  As I see it, it’s like trying to run a marathon with one leg and one lung.  It’s just not going to happen.  My dad never came home from the hospital and we buried him a week later.

I used to be extremely active.  In fact, between the age of 43-48 I ran 15 marathons.  But I can’t run anymore due to an old knee injury and cartilage damage, thus I am sitting more than ever. But, there is always a solution.  So, if I can’t run three miles a day then I can start walking.  And walking (although not as “macho”) is still very good for circulation, blood pressure, weight loss and mental health.

I have always been curious about the benefits of barefoot running, especially since as a marathon runner I constantly had bloody toes from the rubbing inside my running shoes.  So, I now have a pair of Vibram 5-fingers running “shoes” for my walks around Hyde Park.

A while ago I wrote a blog about my experience at the Twin Cities Marathon years ago where about mile 20 I came across a 70+ year-old runner who told me his motto for a long and healthy life.  “One foot in front of the other, sonny.  One foot in front of the other!”

Tight Lines, and see you in the park (or on the trail)!

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to Sedentary Executives . . . Arise

  1. Love my vibrams. Great post. I need to get there and run far more than I am.


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