Thursday, December 11, 2014

Standing Three Hours a Day Is Like Running 10 Marathons a Year

By now you've seen the shocking headline -- "Sitting Is the New Smoking." You may have even vowed to stand up and walk more frequently.

The inverse relationship between computer and butt size
I know I did, and my resolve lasted, oh... maybe a week?

But a funny cartoon on Facebook today motivated me to revisit the recent research on the dangers of sitting, and I have re-committed to sitting on my duff as few hours a day as possible.

Here's why:

It turns out sitting not only doesn't burn up many calories, it changes the way we metabolize food. If we sit at our desks after lunch, most of the glucose in our blood gets converted into fat. But if we take a walk after lunch, some of that sugar is burned off to fuel our muscles.
Even standing up is better than sitting because our bodies require fuel to feed the small muscles in our legs and other muscles that keep us upright. Some scientists have called the kind of metabolism that occurs when we're standing as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is a neat way to think about it.

Whether we're fidgeting, vacuuming or standing at our desk, we're efficiently using food as it's intended -- to fuel our muscles -- which is why we're supposed to count all of our non-sitting hours as "exercise" and not just the ones when we're running on the treadmill, lifting weights or Zumba-ing.

While doing research for this blog post, what really astounded me was a quote in the Daily Mail from British researcher Mike Loosemore, MD. Standing just three hours a day is equivalent to running 10 marathons a year. And, no, that is not a typo.

I don't know about you, but standing three hours a day at work sounds a lot more appealing than running 260 miles.
Woman sitting on slug bench

Fortunately, my company has provided everyone in my office with electronic desks that move up and down so I can stand during the day as much as I want to. But even cube workers who don't have electronic desks can prop up their computers on some books or block of wood.

As for me, I'm recommitting to being a stand up gal for at least three hours a day at work. Aside from  metabolizing my food more efficiently and storing less fat, I like how it feels to sit down after I've just stood up for an hour. Instead of that logey feeling of sitting in my chair like a slug who barely moves, I feel like I've earned the right to relax for a bit before getting back up and starting the cycle again.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes

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