Sinister Sitting: If You Want to Lose Weight…Just Say NO!
A Post About the Long-term Effects of Sitting on Health, Wellness and Weight Loss
Are you sitting down?
If so, you are putting your health and life at risk. Most of us sit for the greater part of each day. But research has shown that it is making us sick and shortening our lives.
Whether we are watching television, driving our car or sitting at our desks, we sit more than humankind ever has. Gone are the days when we had to grow our own food and carry our water for long distances. We live lives of ease. But our ease is costing us dearly; scientists have determined that people who sit for many hours each day are more likely to become obese, have a heart attack, be diagnosed with diabetes and die early.
There’s a simple solution however: stand up and move!
The biology of sitting
When you sit for long periods, your body becomes less efficient at keeping glucose and insulin at healthy levels, 1 and the result is spikes of both of these in your blood stream.2 Increased insulin levels cause not only insulin resistance, but also increased body fat: insulin is the fat storage hormone, and the more you have circulating in your blood, the more fat you will store. Increased glucose causes damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
In fact, people who sit for more than 6 hours each day are 40 times more likely to die within 15 years than those who sit for fewer than 3 hours.3 And if you have a job that requires you to sit all day, you are twice as likely to contract cardiovascular disease as someone who stands to do their work.4
It appears as though even those who exercise aren’t excluded from this danger,5 which demonstrates that the real problem is the hours that our muscles spend being inactive. Even though you may exercise for an hour each day, if you go on to sit for another 6 hours, you are in grave danger.
What’s a body to do?
Plenty. It turns out that there is a simple fix to this deadly malady: stand up frequently and move. In one study, volunteers who got up and walked around after eating a meal had significantly lower blood levels of glucose and insulin than those who did not walk after eating.6
Try to make room in your day for movement. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, choose a distant parking space so you have to walk further, set a timer and get up and walk every 20 minutes, take a walk during your lunch break, put a treadmill in your office with a desk attached (they actually make these!)—there are many things you can do to reduce your extended sitting times. The point is that you break up your sitting with activity.
At first it will seem strange to add in so much walking in your day, and you probably do not think you can afford the time. But as I have said before—if you do not make time for exercise now, you will have to make time for illness later. It is a lot more pleasant to hop up from your desk and make a few trips up and down the stairs now than it will be to undergo invasive medical tests and procedures for disabling chronic disease later.
Why not take a break right now and go for a quick walk? Wait! Please share this post first. Jax xx