A recent article in the New York Times describes research by Dr. Levine (Mayo Clinic) identifying sitting as a “lethal” activity. Most people know that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all kinds of health problems, but what I found interesting is that even the twice weekly aerobic classes doesn’t offset sedentary time as much as we would all like to believe.
Sitting, as it turns out, is an independent pathology. As Dr. Levine puts it, “being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It’s bad whether you are obese or thin”.
Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center adds that electrical activity in the muscles while seated goes “as silent as those of a dead horse” (of course that really hit home with me) causing a cascade of harmful metabolic effects including drops in insulin effectiveness, the ability to break down lipids and triglycerides, and levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Hamilton even studied young, fit and thin voluteers and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin uptake after only 24 hours of being sedentary.
Certainly exercising after a day of sitting is hugely better than sitting more when you get home; but this study calls for changes throughout the workday as well. Dr. Levine calls for consciously creating minor movements each day. Really DO get up every hour and move about, take the stairs, stand up when you talk on the phone or when you’re reading a document. Look for and then take advantage of opportunities to ingrain movement into every hour of the day — and then hit the gym or go for a walk or just keep MOVING when you’re at home.
For the full article go to http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html