Sunday, April 17, 2011

Move It!

Amazing piece in The New York Times today about the most unhealthy thing you can do, called "Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?". Horatio Salinas' smashed chair photo tells all. Stop sitting, start moving!
People don’t need the experts to tell them that sitting around too much could give them a sore back or a spare tire. The conventional wisdom, though, is that if you watch your diet and get aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you’ll effectively offset your sedentary time. A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging. “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” says Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The posture of sitting itself probably isn’t worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching “Wheel of Fortune.” But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese.
So try this today with me. Don't sit. Try not to sit the entire day. Your family will think you're crazy, but try it. It will show you how much we're all sitting around. It's almost impossible to keep from sitting a little bit, but keep log of how many minutes you do sit today. Try to keep it under an hour.

*Photo Credit: Horatio Salinas, The New York Times