The New Disease…..Sitting
I sit a lot during the day and so does my husband. In fact I find when we do get out and begin walking about it takes more effort – our unused muscles are strained with the slightest bit of effort! I imagine that is why the infographic above was so disturbing to read. Even knowing that even if one is of a healthy weight, sitting for too long will shorten their lifespans was unsettling.
What about moderate or even vigorous exercise? Would that make a difference? According to a study of 4,757 adults by the European Health Journal, prolonged sedentary periods led to larger waist sizes and higher levels of blood fats, even if subjects participated in regular sessions of moderate to rigorous exercise outside of their inactive hours. So who fared the best? Those who did both regular exercise and took breaks to stand or walk at regular intervals.
According to ANH-USA, animal studies show that how much time we are sedentary is related to how well our bodies process fats. The studies in rats show that leg muscles only produce the lipase lipoprotein (fat-processing) molecule when they are being actively flexed ~ that is, when standing, or better still, walking around ~ and low levels of he molecule are associated with health problems, including heart disease. In short, sitting makes this important molecule slow down. In fact, actively contracting the muscles produces a whole suite of substances that have a beneficial effect on how the body uses and stores sugars and fats.
I recently read this fact that was unnerving: A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that every hour you sit in front of the TV, you can slash your life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes. Frightening! One of the interesting facts I learned from ANH-USA was that we even have specialized muscles designed for low-intensity activity ~muscles very rich in enzymes which grabs fat and cholesterol from the blood, burning the fat into energy while shifting the cholesterol from LDL (the bad kind) to HDL (the healthy kind). But when we are sedentary, our muscles relax, dropping that enzyme activity by 90% to 95% ~ the fat is left in the bloodstream and our healthy cholesterol soon dives by 20%!
So what can we do to turn this around? Here are a few suggestions:
- you CAN improve the situation by getting up from your desk (or that great lazy boy reclincer) periodically throughout the day so that you aren’t sitting for so long uninterrupted. Simply set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and move about for at least 10 minutes each hour. You can either walk, stand, or take the opportunity to do a few simple exercises.
- Consider a “standing workstation”. (Just google this and you will have lots of options. )
- Try raising your arms above your head periodically ~ be fidgety ~ raise each leg for 30 seconds periodically ~ shift your body from time to time ~ anything that makes you move even a little bit
- Check out this website for 6 stretches to do every day to counteract prolonged sitting
How about you? Does your job keep you glued to your desk? If so, consider a few spurts of activity each hour as suggested above. I am definitely going to be proactive about this! Need to lose a few extra pounds? Check out my newest e-book here ~ Seven Big Secrets To Losing Weight. I have been able to lose some weight with these tips so now I need to start moving!