Sitting is the new smoking of our generation
This cliché has become a new cultural icon that warns of the deleterious effects of the modern sedentary lifestyle that most American office workers experience. Most knowledge-based workers now spend an average of 5 hours and 40 minutes per day sitting at the office. Since leaders work more hours, the amount of “seat time” can be considerably longer.
So, the common sense antidote–daily moderate intense aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes–was once thought to be enough to make you fit. It was also considered to be sufficient to ward off many of the dreaded lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It appears that even fit baby boomers still spend as much time outside of exercise sitting as their fellow non-exercisers.
Compelling new research has found that even those who are extremely fit by traditional standards–and who sit for prolonged periods like their sedentary counterparts–are still at higher risk for premature death and other serious health problems.
Movement over time
Little bits of movement broken up throughout the day are the answer. According to Dr. James Levine, physician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic, “Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving,” he wrote. “Simply by standing, you burn three times as many calories as you do sitting. Muscle contractions, including the ones required for standing, seem to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars. When you sit down, muscle contractions cease and these processes stall.”
Dr. David Angus explains the research findings and even suggests that CEOs consider making the elevators at work coin operated. (See video)
The good news
Breaking up sitting even with a 2-minute walk every 20 minutes can lower blood glucose levels by up to 30 percent. And, it doesn’t matter if it’s a light stroll or a brisk walk; it is actual physical movement that is the key.
So get up, get out, move around. And make sure you have pocket change if you want to take the elevator!
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