Sinister Sitting!! Stand Up & Move NOW!

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

Sources:

1http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2010/01/21/bjsm.2009.067702

2 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2012/02/22/dc11-1931

3 http://www.howtogeek.com/93822/sitting-is-killing-you-infographic/

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid

6 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2012/02/22/dc11-1931

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4 thoughts on “Sinister Sitting!! Stand Up & Move NOW!

  1. Jackie, this is fascinating and frightening at the same time, given how many of us have spent our careers deskbound staring at a computer screen all day, every day, hour after hour.

    As a heart attack survivor (and a 30+ year career veteran of journalism and public relations, most of that time spent writing frantically at the keyboard!), I am concerned about so many of us who spend our working lives sitting like this – and then come home after a long tiring day to sit some more in front of the tube all evening!!

    To me, the truly frightening part of these studies suggests that even daily exercise does not necessarily save us if we end up spending 6 hours sitting. I was a distance runner for 19 years before my heart attack – and believed that this gave me some kind of a free pass when it comes to heart attack. Alas, it did not! What it DID do, according to my cardiologist, is to help me develop strong collateral arteries in my heart that helped to bypass my fully occluded left anterior coronary artery that caused my heart attack.

    I’m now a born-again promoter of daily exercise. I like to quote cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola now, who says: “You only have to exercise on the days you plan to eat!” More on this at: “What Prevents Heart Disease Better Than Any Drug?” – http://myheartsisters.org/2011/08/17/best-heart-disease-prevention/

    Thanks for posting this warning about “sinister sitting”!
    regards,
    Carolyn Thomas

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    Thought ud like to know. At Reps conference at NEC last month 2hrs sitting is now considered a Risk Factor for health!
    Really makes you think!
    It was also agreed that steady state cardio exercise cannot improve body composition. I terval training ( intense) can.. The daily walk is better than sitting still, and viable for lots of reasons other than cardio health.
    We have to find ways to introduce hard exercise to the general public who will find it uncomfortable, sweaty and vert taxing!
    So, back to class planning for me!

    Jax Allen Fitness

  3. Good luck convincing the average consumer that uncomfortable, sweaty and taxing “hard exercise” is the way to go!

    Hard enough to get folks out the door for a simple neighbourhood walk. This is especially true for chronic disease patients living with co-morbidities. Last night, for example, I was doing one of my presentations on women’s heart health and met a number of (older) women in my audience who had issues like rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and joint replacements. I could tell by the way their eyes glazed over during my pro-exercise cheerleading rant that they didn’t (couldn’t) see how they would possibly add “one more thing” to their daily To Do lists – when simply getting out of bed or taking a shower seemed too arduous a task to handle.

  4. Yes, it is hard.. My work whith Seniors has followed a different, yet slowly converging path to that of my other classes.
    I reached 30 years as a group exercise instructor in September and its amazing how the industry has changed – but the attitudes of the population has remained almost the same.
    We fitness leaders have managed to raise penetration from a pathetic 8% in the 80’s to measely 12-14% now.

    My Seniors are mainly ex- Heart Patients (I say ex as they are the lucky ones that know what their Health Achilles heel is and have been treated) that are stage 4 rehab’ and beyond. I run 2 types of session one aerobic in nature – much like an exercise to music class, with sing a long music. I choose exercises that can be done in day or casual wear. not everyone owns trainers or wants to wear track suits. I have gradually applied sports science to the plans in that we do much more stability, mobility and strength work to address their need to remain independant and mobile.
    The second session is all seated or supported by a chair. so, even those with heart failure and severe mobility problems can enjoy the chat and benefit from gentle stretches and Pilates based movements.

    I think there will always be a section of the population that will perhaps walk to get a paper from the local shop and maybe buy or borrow a dog and stay active that way.
    I manage to get non active partners involved in visits to garden centres – usually flat and quite far reaching… I know in the states they have walking groups in shopping Malls… maybe we should try that!

    The 80’s were a disaster I think – so many women were tortured by Jane Fonda types – never to set foot inside a leisure centre ever again..

    Jackie

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