Monday, November 19, 2007

Stand by me!

Here is a good one: finds that sitting may increase risk of disease

Now, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia say a new model regarding physical activity recommendations is emerging. New research shows that what people do in the other 15 and a half hours of their waking day is just as important, or more so, than the time they spend actively exercising.

“Many activities like talking on the phone or watching a child’s ballgame can be done just as enjoyably upright, and you burn double the number of calories while you’re doing it,” said Marc Hamilton, an associate professor of biomedical sciences whose work was recently published in Diabetes. “We’re pretty stationary when we’re talking on the phone or sitting in a chair at a ballgame, but if you stand, you’re probably going to pace or move around

“The enzymes in blood vessels of muscles responsible for ‘fat burning’ are shut off within hours of not standing,” Hamilton said. “Standing and moving lightly will re-engage the enzymes, but since people are awake 16 hours a day, it stands to reason that when people sit much of that time they are losing the opportunity for optimal metabolism throughout the day.”

My job involves sitting down for a lot of the day and it does my head in. I have to get up and move around, walk to visit colleagues or whatever. It is not natural to be sat like that for so long......

“The purpose of medical research is to offer effective new strategies for people whom the existing therapies are not working,” Hamilton said. “Because our research reveals that too little exercise and excessive sitting do not change health by the same genes and biological mechanisms, it offers hope for people who either are not seeing results from exercise or can not exercise regularly. The lifestyle change we are studying is also unlike exercise because it does not require that people squeeze an extra hour into their days and/or get sweaty at the gym, but instead improving the quality of what they already are doing. One misrepresentation is that people tend to say 'I sit all the time, so your studies suggest that I can't even work,' but Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson showed us that you can be very productive and still do great work in an office with a 'standing' desk."

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