We’ve previously said that it’s time to ditch the chair , and we truly mean it. It has everything to do with leading an active lifestyle, the definition of which is a bit more involved than simply popping by the gym after work.
If you’ve read our previous post, you’ll remember that we wrote about a 1950’s study involving bus drivers and bus conductors. The former, constantly seated, indicated a greater risk of heart disease than the latter. The reason for this couldn’t be more obvious: where bus drivers sat for most of the day, bus conductors had the opportunity to spend the day on their legs, moving up and down the aisles.
Activity vs. Inactivity
Activity, or rather an active lifestyle, is determined by the amount of time a person spends on his or her feet. Someone who spends 10 hours a day running, standing or walking is leading a more active lifestyle than someone sitting for six to eight hours, before hitting the gym or cycling home.
Research explains that an increase in bodily fat has a bearing on the development of heart disease. It has a lot to do with the amount of calories burnt during any average day; a receptionist seated for a number of hours might burn 1,000 calories, while a designated photocopy person (who doesn’t have the luxury of a chair) will burn 1,500 calories. This also explains why many individuals gain an average of 16 pounds within the first 8 months of starting a ‘seated job’.
Experiments on mice, to determine the levels of a specific protein in their blood, fuels the argument for physical activity. LPL (lipoprotein lipase) is manufactured by the body to break down fat. Mice that were inactive (spending most of their day lying down) had decreased LPL levels, and the fat got stored in their legs. Mice who were active (spending most of the day on their feet), had 10 times the LPL levels of the inactive mice.
But here’s the very interesting thing: exercise didn’t affect the LPL levels of the active mice. Scientists believe the same to be true for humans; however hard your exercise, your LPL levels will remain the same.
But that’s only a part of the problem.
Studies have also found that people who sit for prolonged periods of time are more likely to contract heart disease, irrespective of how many calories they burn during any one day, irrespective of whether they smoke cigarettes or not, and irrespective of their diets.
The real danger to individuals who spend most of their time seated comes from a gene scientists have linked to heart disease. And it cannot be countered by exercise, regardless of how much fat you burn. The only real way to combat this gene is to spend more time on your feet, moving about, and less time on your bum.
Too much sitting is bad far you. Period.