Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sitting Turns Off Fat Burning Switch

We all know a sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for health issues including heart disease and obesity. We mostly connect sitting and inactivity with poor fitness levels due to the fact that we consume so much food and do little to nothing to actually burn the energy we ingest. Researchers and physiologists are saying sitting down is bad for your health not only because it doesn't burn calories, but a fat-metabolizing enzyme called lipase is actually deactivated during long periods of sitting:
They found evidence that sitting had negative effects on fat and cholesterol metabolism. The researchers also found that physical inactivity throughout the day stimulated disease-promoting processes, and that exercising, even for an hour a day, was not sufficient to reverse the effect.

There is a misconception that actively exercising is the only way to make a healthy difference in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. However, Hamilton's studies found that standing and other non-exercise activities burn many calories in most adults even if they do not exercise at all.

"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." - Science Daily
Your body burns double the calories standing up as it would sitting down. Think about how large the muscles are in your legs and core. These are huge muscle groups that are completely inactive when sitting down which means the body doesn't have to expend a whole lot of energy to sustain itself in that position. Here are some ways to take a stand against sitting yourself into poor health:

- Stand up while talking on the phone.
- Stand up while you read a book or magazine
- Stand up and walk around on breaks at work, especially if you sit at a desk job!
- Check e-mails and facebook with your laptop plopped on your kitchen counter.
- Watch the big game on your feet as if you were in the stadium.
- Although it doesn't involve standing, I have designated an exercise ball to be my office chair at home for over three years now. Sitting on the exercise ball forces your core to stabilize and prompts good posture while you're on it. So if you're going to sit, try sitting on an exercise ball!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow this is really interesting. I have a desk job and this is blog will now give me something to think about.
Thank you

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