Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Sitting on Your Ass Could Kill You


Spending all day sitting on your ass could literally expand the size of your ass. No, I'm not just talking about folks who don't exercise, but you who exercises and then sits for 3 hours in front of the TV. Yes, you.

People don’t need the experts to tell them that sitting around too much could give them a sore back or a spare tire. The conventional wisdom, though, is that if you watch your diet and get exercise at least a few times a week, you’ll effectively offset your sedentary time. A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging. Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting. 
The posture of sitting itself probably isn’t worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching “Wheel of Fortune.” But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops, and the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse, leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. The risk of being obese shoots up within a single day, and the risk of developing  Type 2 Diabetes rises. The enzymes responsible for vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream plunge.

Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. 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 is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. Excessive sitting is a lethal activity.

The good news is that inactivity’s peril can be countered. Even the littlest stuff matters, like bending down to tie your shoes or walking down the hall to get a cup of tea. Every movement matters. The best advice anyone ever gave me about exercise was to get up at least every hour. It doesn't matter whether you are getting up to go to the bathroom or to get your mail. Get up off your ass so you can save your ass!

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Excerpts from the New York Times article "Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?" by James Vlahos.

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  1. Wow what a brilliant information. I always sit down to surf overnight. I'd stick on to my regular exercise and learn not to send my younger ones on errands anymore but do them myself. I dont want to shave away some years off my life spam just by sitting, thinking its a good practice.

  2. I sit for eight or more hours a day, and I tried the standing thing; no less painful. According to a study from Cornell, standing all day increased risk of carotid atherosclerosis ninefold! This is why I created an app called Take A Yoga Break--you set a timer to remind you to stand, and the app displays one of 30 yoga-based moves you can do right at your desk. It's on iTunes for iPhone and iPad, and it's only .99--cheaper than a standing desk!


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