A study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine tested over 200,000 people 45 years of age and older and shows that if you just stand up for heart health more, you will reduce your chances of dying within the next three years. Adults who sit for 11 hours or more each day increase their chances of dying by 40 percent over those who sit less than four hours a day. Even though the study uses adults 45 and older, this health risk affects everyone, young and old.
This 11 hours of sitting means time sitting in front of the computer both at home and at work, watching TV, playing electronic games or just relaxing. Standing or walking will improve your heart health because studies have shown that inactivity is a major factor in cardiovascular disease. There are over 17 million deaths per year worldwide from cardiovascular disease.
You are probably sitting right now reading this as well as I am writing it. Our bodies are designed to move. Sitting will slow your body’s metabolism, strain muscles designed for standing and walking, and ultimately shorten your life span.
Why is Sitting So Unhealthy?
Marc Hamilton, a microbiologist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center says “Sitting is a health hazard on the order of smoking”.
There is an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase which is in the blood vessels of your muscles. Lipoprotein lipase is a fat digesting enzyme. When standing, your postural muscles, primarily your leg muscles, will release lipase which burns fat. When sitting, this fat is not destroyed and is stored as body fat.
11 hours of sitting will reduce the production of lipoprotein lipase by as much as 90 to 95 percent. It is feared by many researchers that even 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day will not completely counteract the effects.
Just Stand Up More
According to James Levine, MD, obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic, the biggest difference between thin people and fat people is not how much they eat or exercise but how much they sit. This is mainly because your metabolism is greatly fueled by our constant little movements.
The answer is to stand up. Stand up for your heart health. Stand up more during the day. At work, stand up more in your office and take a little walk every few minutes. Go to the printer, restroom or take a walk to look out the window to see what the weather is doing. One thing you can do at work is to stand while you are on the phone. You can get out and take a walk at lunch.
There are desks that you can buy called a stand up desk. This may sound strange but you can use a stand up desk at home for such things as writing letters, paying bills, reading or even surfing the web. At the workplace, this may be a little more difficult because most companies will not spend the extra dollars. That doesn’t mean you can’t still stand often, again for example while you are on the phone.
At home, go for a walk, work in the garden, stand while reading or watching TV, just stand up more. Get a pedometer and monitor your steps on a daily basis. My goal in addition to exercising is to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. You too can work up to 10,000 steps each day. I guarantee you that will get you up on your feet more often.
The bottom line is to stand up more every day. Start an exercise program today and stay with it. This will help your heart, muscles, bones and arteries and you will live longer. We have all become too complacent to a life of sitting to do everything. Stand up for heart health and live.