We first started to realize just how bad sitting was when we read A.J. Jacob’s Drop Dead Healthy (great book). Since that time, there have been numerous studies concluding that sitting for long periods of time is wreaking havoc with our weight and health. We had our intern Katelynn sort out the sitting issue and suggest ways for us to maintain our professional lives without gaining weight and harming our health. And Katelynn’s video is a must watch (awesome).
You’re probably sitting down right now while reading this and I’m sitting right now while writing this. The problem is that our bodies are physically designed to stand up regularly and to move around. Excessive sitting is defined as sitting for more than six hours a day and very easy to “accomplish” with an office job and a modest TV habit. Think about it, a couple of hours in the morning, two more at lunch, a couple of shows at night, you’re there. According to The New York Times
, “the average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting.” That’s half of your life as we say T2C (tush to chair). A recent U.S. News and World Report
article showed that even 3 hours per day could have deleterious effects, uh oh.
A popular misconception is that if you get enough daily exercise, you’re exempt from the consequences of sitting. However, the truth is far from that. In fact, the person who exercises regularly but sits or watches TV for a combination of six hours has similar risk to someone who sits the same amount and doesn’t exercise. Regardless of your activity level, excessive sitters live two years less
. Studies have found that prolonged sitting increases the rate of hear disease and diabetes while and slowing your metabolism. People who sit too long reduce good cholesterol levels by 22 percent. And data presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded sitting time is emerging as a cancer risk factor independent of weight or exercise habits. Excessive sitting can also lead to poor posture, knee pain, herniated discs and other back and neck.
So what is it that makes sitting so bad? Physiologically certain things happen when we sit. Lipase is what helps muscles absorb fat. While sitting, we don’t produce lipase so fat can be stored or end up in our arteries. Other research pointed out what happens within muscle when we sit, there’s “the absence of skeletal muscle contractions, particularly in the very large muscles of the lower limbs,” When muscles don’t contract they don’t require fuel so blood sugar can accumulate in the bloodstream. This explains the sitting/diabetes connection.
Short of quitting a desk job or investing in a treadmill desk (we can dream) try standing versus sitting. As REM said (I thought REM was a typo when Lauren suggested I include this), “Stand in the Place Where You Are”extra points if you do the dorky dance. Stand while on the phone or watching your children play. When seated make sure you get up every 30 minutes. Aside from letting lipase do it’s fat zapping job, according to Dr. Hamilton, associate professor of biomedical sciences University of Missouri, standing will help you burn an extra 60 calories an hour. And because we have your back (and don’t want that back decorated in back fat), here are some exercise ideas you can implement while commuting or at your desk:
This youtube video
Katelynn created could could change your life.
As seen in the video:
While doing these calf raises ‘the calves perform a motion called plantar flexior, and you can burn about 20 calories for 15 of these. Also stand on the bus or subway.
Water Bottle Workout
A 16 oz Poland Spring water bottle weighs approximately 1.08 pounds. The heavier the water bottle, the more it will help work your arm muscles. And for your feet at your desk these Yamuna reflexology balls
Swap Out Your Chair
Exchange your old wooden office chair for one that will give you a workout while sitting. Gaiam sells the perfect “Balance Ball Chairs
” for your office.
Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, had this ot say about sitting “if you reduce sitting by five minutes an hour, at the end of a long day, you’ve shaved an hour of your total sitting time.”
Are you sedentary or active during the day? How much would you guesstimate you sit? Did you realize sitting was so dangerous?
Spread the word, tweet us evidence that you’re taking this information to heart. REM dance? Water bottle workout? Commute Calk Raises? Let’s see it.