DANGERS OF SITTING By Cord Prettyman, MPT
The embryonic science of “Inactivity Physiology” is back in the news. In a recently released study, Australian scientists collected data on employment history, lifestyle and physical activity from 918 colon cancer patients and 1,021 apparently healthy others in a control group.
The research showed that subjects that spent 10 or more years in sedentary jobs had twice the risk of colon cancer and a 44 percent increased risk of rectal cancer compared to those who never held a sedentary job. If you’re keeping a “dangers-of-sitting” scorecard at home, you can add that to diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity on the rapidly growing list of consequences of spending too much time on one’s derriere.
Physiologists analyzing the link between disease and sitting have found that the act of sitting shuts down the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase, which results in fat being deposited in adipose tissue instead of staying in the blood stream, where it can be burned. The scientists also found that standing up promotes the distribution of lipase prompting the body to process fat and cholesterol.
“Chair time is an insidious hazard,” says Marc Hamilton, PhD, a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri. “The existing data, from numerous studies are starting to show that the rates of disease, diabetes, and obesity and now cancer are doubled and sometimes tripled in people who sit a lot.”
In yet another study, women who sat more than 6 hours a day faced a 33 percent higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease that women who sat less than 3 hours a day.
Men who parked themselves in a chair for over 6 hours had an 18 percent increased risk of premature death from heart disease.
The experts recommend getting more active at work. Here are some suggestions for a workplace “deskercise” routine you can do two to three times a day.
Work on your buns-of-steel, while sitting at your desk, by squeezing your buttocks for 5 to 10 seconds ten times.
Do body lifts to work on your triceps by placing your hands on the arms of your desk chair and lifting yourself up off your chair. Do these 5 to 10 times.
Chair squats are a great exercise for every muscle in your lower body. Just sit near the edge of your desk chair and stand up and sit down 10 times.
Stand up and move your chair out of the way and lean against your desk and do desk pushups. Anywhere from 5 to 10 reps will get the job down.
Switch your desk chair off with an Exercise Ball, which will work all your core muscles. Alternate one to two hours on the Ball with no more than one hour on your regular desk chair.
Make every coffee break a walking break and go see co-workers at their desk instead of emailing or calling. And, finally, always take the stairs.
The message from the world of science is clear – get off your duff. It’s killing you.
Cord Prettyman is a certified Master Personal Trainer and owner of Absolute Workout Fitness and Post-Re-hab Studio in Woodland Park. He can be reached at 687-7437, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org through his website at www.cordprettyman.com.