SIT FOR JUST AN HOUR and your body starts adding to its fat reserves. If you chose to stand instead, you would have spent that time metabolising glucose for muscles.
Studies show that men who sit for more than 6 hours of their leisure time, have a 20% higher death rate than those who sit for 3 hours or less. Extensive sitting is linked to heart disease risk. [source]
Another study shows that men (thank sports medicine for the men focus) who sit for 23 or more hours a week, have a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sit for 11 hours a week or less.
Take Care Of Your Telomeres
Telomeres — the protective caps at the end of chromosomes — lengthen in standers and shorten in sitters.
Short telomeres are linked to premature aging, disease and early death. Longer telomeres are linked to longer, healthier lifespans. [source]
Is This Sitting Bull?
To explain why sitting is bad for you… when you sit, your body takes a break. Electrical activity in your muscles flat-lines, your heart rate drops, so too burning of calories and insulin effectiveness. Chemicals, such as lipoprotein lipase, that help process fats and sugars are released only when your muscles are engaged — as they are when you stand up or walk.
Sitting introduces an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, not to mention wider waistlines, bad backs and nagging necks.
Exercise Will Fix It, Right?
No amount of exercise, not even yoga, can counteract the negative effects of sitting. The only solution is to sit less and stand up more often. Repeat: exercising does not counteract sitting.
Standing to work engages muscles and burns about 20% more calories. Standing up every 20 minutes, even for a minute or two, reduces your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Stand Up For What?
Gyms around the country are littered with the bodies of contorted middle-aged men and women worming around in efforts to relieve their back pain. These are not labourers. They’re office work victims of their office work chairs.
Good news is that many people say their back pain is gone after switching to stand-up desks.
Stand up and you’ll engage your muscles, you’ll be more active and you’ll release restless energy. Your blood flow increases when you stand up, so your brain will more likely find inspiration.
Stand up at work and you’ll enjoy the satisfying feeling of having used your body. At night, you’ll sleep better.
The Grim Reaper Test
Here’s a simple test you can do to help determine your health status*:
From a standing position, drop to a sitting position on the floor without using your hands, arms, or knees. Wait a few seconds, then stand up, again without using hands, arms, or knees.
Feel free to cross your legs on the way down and up. Arms held wide can help you balance.
A 2002 Brazilian study followed men and women aged 51 to 80 for an average of 6.3 years, and those who needed both hands and knees to get up and down were almost 7 times more likely to die within 6 years than those who did so without support.
Musculoskeletal fitness, it turns out, is critically important.
Better than any self-test, of course, is seeing what the musculoskeletal specialists think.
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