A 2008 Vanderbilt University Study of 6,300 people estimated that the average American
spends 55% of waking time (7.7 hours/day) in sedentary behaviors such as sitting.
A 2010 American Cancer Society study followed 123,216 people
from 1993 – 2006 and found that:
Women who sat for over 6 hours a day were 94% more likely to die during the time period
studied then those were sat less than 6 hours per day.
Men who sat for over 6 hours a day were 48% more likely to die.
These findings were independent of physical activity levels (negative effects of inactivity
were just as strong in people who exercised regularly - the exercising coach potato)
Even when adults meet physical activity guidelines (150 minutes a week of moderate
intensity), sitting for prolonged periods can compromise metabolic health.
Spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaging in moderate or vigorous
activity does NOT seem to significantly offset the risk.
Exercise is NOT a perfect antidote for sitting.
Sitting for long periods of time and an overly sedentary chair based lifestyle increases risk of
obesity, metabolic syndrome (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excessive fat
around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol), death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The increased risk is SEPARATE from other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular
disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure.
In a novel study by Dr.Levine, designed to answer the question why some people who
consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight, he had subjects wear motion
tracking underwear and consume 1000 extra calories per day; Dr. Levine found that the
PEOPLE WHO GAINED WEIGHT MOVED LESS. The subjects who did NOT gain
weight unconsciously moved around more; they hadn’t started exercising, it wasn’t allowed.
Their bodies naturally responded by making more frequent little movements than they had
before, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the water cooler, bustling with chores
at home, or simply fidgeting.
When we sit in chairs, electrical activity in the muscle drops. Calorie burning rate
immediately nose dives. Insulin effectiveness drops within ONE day. The enzymes
responsible for breaking down cholesterol plunge.
Dr. Levine has a concept called NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis where even
the littlest stuff matters.
Obese subjects average only 1500 daily movement and 600 minutes sitting per day.
Farmers in Jamaica average 5000 daily movements and only 300 minutes sitting per day.
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