William G. Plunkett, MD
Several recent studies have concluded that excessive amounts of sitting
can contribute to lethargy and send harmful signals to your body that
cause the amount of glucose and fat burning in the body to shut down.
According to the American Cancer Society study, women who reported more
than 6 hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during
the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day. Men
who sat more than? hours a day were 18 percent more likely to die than
those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day.
Another study by the International Diabetes Institute finds that 30 minutes
of exercise a day is not enough to prevent obesity and diabetes in people
who also spend long periods doing nothing. The study also suggests people
break up sitting time with a simple walk around the office, which may
be more likely to increase their metabolic rate.
Even simply standing may help offset the negative effects of sitting.
Officials recommend talking, typing or even fidgeting while standing.
Because the muscles work while holding the body’s weight upright,
standing can help increase the metabolic rate.
Experts also suggest taking flexibility breaks twice a day and getting
up to walk around every hour or so to take pressure off the lower back
and engage lower body muscles.