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Don’t rest on your laurels

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

You might want to stand up and stretch for this next story. It’s about the research into sedentary behavior.

Emerging science suggests there are health dangers from sitting for long stretches throughout the day — even if you’re getting your recommended daily exercise.

Some body mechanisms become less efficient when certain legs muscles are still too long. Standford University exercise physiologist Anne Friedlander explains:

Friedlander: Those muscles it seems play a large role in taking the fats that you eat in your diet and getting rid of them, clearing them from the blood, and when you’re not contracting those muscles, those fats can build up in the blood, and that can have negative effects on a lot of other systems in the body.

Alpa Patel and colleagues at the American Cancer Society found that too much sitting can up your chances of dying early.

Patel: Get up and move. There is benefit with making those little decisions in your everyday life to increase the amount of movement that you have. Don’t email your colleague in the office next door stand up and walk and ask them the question.

Researchers asked more than 120,000 Americans about their leisure time habits, and then tracked them for 14 years. Women who regularly sat for six or more hours a day — in their leisure time – had a 37 percent higher risk of dying prematurely – compared with women who sat for fewer than three hours a day. For men, the risk was 18 percent higher.

The study appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

To help prevent serious health problems such as diabetes, lots of us need to be a little more active, even when we’re sitting. Some scientists are now pushing for new guidelines. They want Americans to monitor their sit time and find ways to break it up.

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