By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – Lately studies and articles about the health problems associated with sitting and prolonged periods of inactivity have been getting some headlines. It’s definitely worth everyone’s attention because it appears the problems can be easily counteracted, but not in the way one might think.
“The typical activity of remaining hunter-gatherers in the world today would be the equivalent of walking about 6-8 miles a day. By all accounts, our ancient ancestors did the same or perhaps more. These new studies are showing that we’re made to move and that an overly sedentary lifestyle is very bad for us,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust .
Here are a few important points to keep in mind for those who want to increase their likelihood of a longer and healthier life:
- Prolonged periods of inactivity are bad regardless of how much time you also spend on popular high intensity activities like jogging or pounding treadmills in the gym.
- The latest research suggests that what we need is constant low-level activity; so low-level that one might not think of it as activity at all. Two minutes of walking or even just standing up counts, for it invokes activity in muscles that sitting does not.
- As far back as 1953, a study published in the Lancet found that bus conductors, who spend their days standing, had a risk of heart attack half that of bus drivers, who spend their shifts on their backsides.
- A meta-analysis combining 18 diverse studies covering almost 800,000 people in 2012 concluded that those individuals who are least active in their normal daily lives are twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who are most active and that the immobile are twice as likely to die from a heart attack and 2.5 times more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease as the most active. Importantly, all this seemed independent of the amount of vigorous, gym-style exercise that volunteers did.
- A different set of studies suggests that long periods of inactivity cause harm by altering the metabolism. For example, reduced amounts of triglycerides taken up by their skeletal muscles, reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and a reduction in the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that regulates levels of triglycerides and HDL. In addition, inactivity has been shown to change the activity levels of over 100 genes.
- The research suggests these changes can be reversed by small amounts of fairly relaxed activity, as little as two minutes of walking every 30 minutes which lowered blood-glucose levels almost 30% more than those of people who had remained seated.
- Many scientists believe that frequent light-to-moderate exercise like standing up, walking and other low-level activities are something qualitatively different from an energetic, high-intensity workout.
Griesel adds, “Activity is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle and is a requirement for achieving and maintaining optimal body composition. It’s very simple: We just need to make it a point to get up and move as often as possible.”