If you are one of the many who detest working yourself to a frazzle at the local gym, there’s good news for you coming out of Norway. In a small new study published in PLOS ONE – an international, peer-reviewed, online scientific publication – Norwegian researchers found that, when it comes to your negative health markers, it may be more important to reduce your hours sitting than it is to exercise vigorously.
According to an NBC news report, when the volunteers in the study spent two hours standing and four hours walking, they had healthier insulin levels and lower triglycerides that when they logged an hour a day busting their buns cycling in a gym.
The research project required 18 college students of normal weight to spend several days participating in one of three regimes. The first group sat for 14 hours a day with no exercise; the second control group sat for 13 hours but logged an hour a day of vigorous cycling, while the third group sat for only 8 hours a day, walked 4 hours and stood for 2 hours.
The scientists measured the subjects’ insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels after each phase of the experiment. There was no surprise that the sedentary group had the worst insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride scores.
The interesting finding was that the control group that stood and walked for a total of 6 hours a day had markedly better blood panel scores that the vigorous exercisers. Triglyceride levels barely improved for the cyclists but were 22 percent better when the volunteers only sat 8 hours a day.
These new findings continue a research trend in the embryonic science of “Inactivity Physiology” demonstrating that sitting has a negative impact on a whole host of disease processes. A 2010 study found that even among those who were regular vigorous exercisers, the risk of death rose with the number of hours spent sitting.
And here’s the real shocker. Scientists have recently reported research showing that baby boomers are less healthy than their parents at the same age, which is attributed to the fact that the Greatest Generation spent much more time doing chores and walking out of necessity.
Experts say the remedy for the ills of sitting is to move and stay active even while at work. Stand up and walk around the office every 30 minutes.
Make every coffee break a walking break; take the stairs; do chair squats at your desk and then move the chair and do desk push-ups. Perform body lifts by placing your hands on the arms of your desk chair and lifting yourself up off your chair.
You can work on your buns-of-steel while sitting at your desk by squeezing your buttocks for 5 to 10 seconds ten times 3 times a day. And finally, switch between your desk chair and a Stability Ball every couple of hours to work your core muscles.
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 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.