Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Your Working May Not Be Cutting It



From Mashable Infographic


We first started to realize just how bad sitting was when we read A.J. Jacob's Drop Dead Healthy (great book).  Since that time, there have been numerous studies concluding that sitting for long periods of time is wreaking havoc with our weight and health. We had our intern Katelynn sort out the sitting issue and suggest ways for us to maintain our professional lives without gaining weight and harming our health. And Katelynn’s video is a must watch (awesome).

You’re probably sitting down right now while reading this and I’m sitting right now while writing this. The problem is that our bodies are physically designed to stand up regularly and to move around. Excessive sitting is defined as sitting for more than six hours a day and very easy to  “accomplish” with an office job and a modest TV habit. Think about it, a couple of hours in the morning, two more at lunch, a couple of shows at night, you're there. According to The New York Times, “the average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting.” That’s half of your life as we say T2C (tush to chair).  A recent U.S. News and World Report article showed that even 3 hours per day could have deleterious effects, uh oh.

A popular misconception is that if you get enough daily exercise, you’re exempt from the consequences of sitting. However, the truth is far from that. In fact, the person who exercises regularly but sits or watches TV for a combination of six hours has similar risk to someone who sits the same amount and doesn’t exercise. Regardless of your activity level, excessive sitters live two years less. Studies have found that prolonged sitting increases the rate of hear disease and diabetes while and slowing your metabolism.  People who sit too long reduce good cholesterol levels by 22 percent. And data presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded sitting time is emerging as a cancer risk factor independent of weight or exercise habits. Excessive sitting can also lead to poor posture, knee pain, herniated discs and other back and neck.

So what is it that makes sitting so bad? Physiologically certain things happen when we sit. Lipase is what helps muscles absorb fat. While sitting, we don’t produce lipase so fat can be stored or end up in our arteries. Other research pointed out what happens within muscle when we sit, there's “the absence of skeletal muscle contractions, particularly in the very large muscles of the lower limbs,” When muscles don’t contract they don’t require fuel so blood sugar can accumulate in the bloodstream. This explains the sitting/diabetes connection.

Short of quitting a desk job or investing in a treadmill desk (we can dream) try standing versus sitting. As REM said (I thought REM was a typo when Lauren suggested I include this), “Stand in the Place Where You Are"extra points if you do the dorky dance. Stand while on the phone or watching your children play. When seated make sure you get up every 30 minutes. Aside from letting lipase do it’s fat zapping job, according to Dr. Hamilton, associate professor of biomedical sciences University of Missouri, standing will help you burn an extra 60 calories an hour. And because we have your back (and don’t want that back decorated in back fat), here are some exercise ideas you can implement while commuting or at your desk:

This youtube video Katelynn created could could change your life. 

As seen in the video:
Calf Raises
While doing these calf raises ‘the calves perform a motion called plantar flexior, and you can burn about 20 calories for 15 of these. Also stand on the bus or subway.

Water Bottle Workout
A 16 oz Poland Spring water bottle weighs approximately 1.08 pounds. The heavier the water bottle, the more it will help work your arm muscles. And for your feet at your desk these Yamuna reflexology balls are fantastic.

Swap Out Your Chair
Exchange your old wooden office chair for one that will give you a workout while sitting. Gaiam sells the perfect “Balance Ball Chairs” for your office. 

Dr. Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, had this ot say about sitting “if you reduce sitting by five minutes an hour, at the end of a long day, you’ve shaved an hour of your total sitting time.” 
Are you sedentary or active during the day? How much would you guesstimate you sit? Did you realize sitting was so dangerous?
Spread the word, tweet us evidence that you're taking this information to heart. REM dance? Water bottle workout? Commute Calk Raises? Let's see it. 






23 comments:

  1. I have a desk in the middle on a grocery aisle, which I use throughout the day at work. People always say to me, "you need a chair!" But I always respond that I'd rather stand. And this post is what I'll have to show people when they look at me funny!
    BTW, the buckeye recipe I used to make healthier buckeyes was just a typical recipe you can find online, but I used Smart Balance PB (With omega-3), dark chocolate, and about 1/4th less powdered sugar.

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  2. See, the good habits you have you didn't even know about? I too am good at work as sessions are generally 30 min and I make effort to get up and walk each client out and in. However, when I'm writing or at home, I can sit too long. I am shocked at the fact that's as bad for an exerciser as someone who sits ALL the time. Always something to work on. I will have to buckeye this winter. We stop at a place for food in VT and there are buckeyes at the register, my kids love them but ingredients in these weren't so great.

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  3. Lauren, I actually made a treadmill desk after reading that last post of yours about the writer. Anyway, my husband has a treadmill in the basement, and I just laid a board over the handles. And there you have it! Treadmill desk! Seriously, that's about as handy as I get.
    I sit a lot now. When I used to teach kids, I was always on my feet. But now that I teach full-day adult classes, I spend a lot more time sitting. Sitting too long gives me a backache, but sometimes it's hard to motivate myself to stand while working.

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  4. Glad you wrote about this. I read that study too, and was surprised at the negative effects of too much sitting, even if you exercise during the day. I have to say, I definitely sit more than I used to since I started my nutrition practice and blog a couple of years ago, although I do get up frequently throughout the day and walk my kids to and from school twice a day, but still, I think it's not enough. I have an incline treadmill in the garage, śo one day I got on it and worked out a a moderate pace while going through e-mails and catching up on blogs-loved it, and I even completed an on-line survey on grapes and health and got a $30 Amazon gift card for participating! Only problem, now my treadmill is broken!! Hope to get it fixed soon, so I can start up again.

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  5. I feel funny talking to patients about this. Cause I often times will point out a desk job, which is primarily what mine is. Working in a hotel now, I do more a lot more than at my other job. But still, a lot of my time is spent sitting. I love the balance ball chair!

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  6. Why do you feel funny talking to patients about? Even with desk jobs (or especially) we can take breaks or do some work standing etc. Would love to hear more about RD in hotel, so cool.

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  7. Lauren@foodtrainers.netNovember 12, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    I even find putting computer (is laptop easier) on kitchen counter cna be a good solution. Stand/email and get stuff for free, love it.

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  8. photo of DIY tread-desk please. Miss your comments Stephanie, you ok?

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  9. I want a treadmill desk so badly but I doubt it would fit into my tiny cubicle. I make a point to stand up when I'm reading or on a conference call. It actually helps me pay more attention because I am less lethargic. I'm also a big fan of wall squats! (when no one is looking...)

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  10. Love this post - it's something that really needs to be addressed, and I loved that instead of just talking about it, you offered practical solutions that everyone can do!

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  11. prior to researching this topic, I was completely unaware of how excessive sitting could really take a toll on your body. i'm putting the Gaiam balance ball chair on my wish list this year. by the way, "T2C" love that phrase, so clever. now please excuse me while I leave to do a water bottle workout while simultaneously doing calf raises on my way to class..

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  12. wall squats, let's see a tweet of you wall squatting

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  13. I wonder if I can counteract any of the bad effects of sitting by moving while I sit. I'm really fidgity so I'm constantly bouncing my foot or shaking my booty in the car while I drive. I get up and walk a lot during the day too, I'm just curious about that Lipase thing.

    One thing I've started doing is having walking meetings. We've have nice weather lately, so my project manager and I will take a loop or two around the office to stretch our legs and get some privacy to talk.

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  14. When I work from home or when I'm on the Internet at home I stand. I actually end up standing for hours sometimes, without realizing I'm doing it. We even purchased one of those mats made for standing on...love it. And I feel a ton better too! It's too bad I can't do this at my office as well.

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  15. haha! My sister and I plan to submit a picture for Refine's Pop a Squat challenge. Stay tuned!

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  16. When I had a desk job, I tried to stand every half hour. I also walked for both my 15 minute breaks and walk 30 of my 60 minute lunch. If it was bad weather I would go to youtube and do a workout video in my office (I was lucky to have a private office). Now that I'm a stay at home mom...I stand and move WAY more than I have since college. I love it and now cherish the moments I do just get to sit and chill. :) Great great post/topic!!

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  17. so impressed with how you took time to walk when working, I need to follow that schedule. And yes, I remember those new baby days...not much rest at all but so sweet.

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  18. walking meetings, genius. Our offices are 1/2 a block from central park I fantasize about outdoor/walking sessions.

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  19. I'm partial to the quick desk clean.

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  20. We try Whitney, can't just say don't sit but how is this going to work, right?

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  21. Lauren---Great Post! Have you ever watched the video made by Mike Evans entitled 23 1/2 hours. I have attached the link. His creative delivery of the message to exercise daily should be "must see" for all of our clients.

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  22. I just tried standing to do emails and it was really hard to stay focused. But after reading this I am going to try and stand up more during the day, that's for sure. However, my grammy is 93 and I am pretty sure she's sat the majority of the past 20 yrs and she's going strong! Maybe I have good sitting genes?

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