By Danette Vernon
You hit the gym after work, and for dinner you have brown rice, grilled salmon, and a salad. Then you sit down to a little TV before bed. After all, after an eight hour day at the office, you’ve earned it! Or maybe you eschew television for a game of Solitaire on your computer while posting on Facebook and checking your email. Either way, you may spend the whole evening just relaxing.
If that’s your day, well, despite your best efforts, you may be on your way to a heart attack, diabetes and a host of back ills. You might want to consider standing up as you read this. Why?
Sitting for long periods of time, “promotes a lack of whole body muscle movement,” which Swedish-based researchers say is the more correct way to define sedentary behavior.
Even if you exercise regularly or take an evening walk every night, as a woman, your risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease, jumps 26 percent for every extra hour at day’s end that you sit in front of the TV or your computer.
But isn’t sitting down after a long day at work one of the fruits of life? Well, not if you’ve been sitting all day (more than 7.4 hours). Even after only four hours of sitting per day, you’re on your way to being “fat,” and maybe even to an early death, as genes regulating the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down in just that brief a period of time.
A study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders suggests people with a low level of hours of sitting per day, less than 4.7 hours, were less likely to be overweight. Conversely, other studies show that rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity are doubled and even tripled in people who sit a lot.
Part of the problem is sitting stops the circulation of lipase, an enzyme that absorbs fats. So instead of being absorbed by your muscles, when you’re sitting, fat recirculates in your bloodstream where it may end up stored as body fat, clogging arteries or contributing to disease. In fact, simply standing up as opposed to sitting engages muscles and helps your body process fat and cholesterol in a positive way, regardless of the amount of exercise you do.
People who live to be a 100 don’t exercise per se, they incorporate exercise into everyday living. So use the stairs, get up and walk around, change position every 20 minutes or so while at work. Develop a way to use a standing position while you use your computer at work or home. Stand up while watching TV or reading. It doesn’t matter how, just please stand up!
Moment of Wellness with Danette Vernon at Therapeutic Solutions: Offering a unique approach to your active health care needs using a variety of healing modalities, nutritional and wellness coaching to empower you to a new state of health and well-being. 73 Sams Point Road, 524-2554.