Thursday, November 8, 2012

Standing room only

I haven't posted for a while - too busy with real life I suppose.

One thing that has been in my mind the last few days has been the idea of standing or at least not being sedentary.  One of my guilty pleasures is listening to the podcasts of Superhuman Radio.  Carl Lanore has some really interesting interviews, if you can get past the over the top advertising.  I actually like Lanore's style too - he makes me laugh and comes across as a nice guy.

Anyway, last Wednesday he interviewed Emma Wilmot:

SHR # 1080 :: Get Up! Stand Up!: Sitting For Long Periods Causes Death PLUS So What's The Big Deal About Grass Fed Whey  

The show can be downloaded from here as an mp3:

Dr. Wilmot's group has looked at research done on over 794,000 participants to determine that your lack of activity will lead to your early demise. This is an important interview. Even if you train hard once a day you may be negating the benefits by sitting at your desk for the rest of the day. Learn how easy it is to reverse the metabolic events that accompany sitting with just a few small modifications

It was an intriguing interview.  Emma is a Scottish doctor working in diabestes research in Leicester, with a focus on lifestyle issues, particularly the dangers of being sedentary.  The paper that they were discussing was

Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis

In some ways it is the standard paper - sitting down is bad for you.

However, one thing that came up in the discussion which was fascinating was the idea of standing after rather than moving as such.  They spoke about a study which looked at lipoprotein lipase. This molecule plays a central role in how the body processes fats; it’s produced by many tissues, including muscles. Low levels  are associated with a variety of health problems, including heart disease. Studies in rats show that leg muscles only produce this molecule when they are actively being flexed (for example, when the animal is standing up and ambling about). The implication is that when you sit, a crucial part of your metabolism slows down.  Simply standing keeps muscles working in ways that sitting doesn’t. Sitting is so passive. The signals it sends are pretty negative.

I was not sure what the study was, so I emailed Dr Wilmot and she pointed me to


That first one showed that even simply standing after a meal increased glucose control in healthy people.  Walking helped more but even simply standing was a big impact. 

There has been quite a lot of coverage of Dr Wilmot's review: e.g. at the BBC

1 comment:

Asclepius said...

I wonder what the implication is (if any), of implementing the Asian Squat and/or sitting on the floor, as opposed to sitting in (western) furniture?