When James Brown told us all to "Get Up Offa That Thing," he may well have been referring to our desk chairs. We know sitting down all day is bad for our health — the many different pains and ailments that come from rotting at your desk for eight hours at a time are proof enough, and you don't need a study to explain your neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. But new research from Kansas State University gives us scientific proof that hitting the gym after work isn't enough — we actually need to focus on spending less time sitting down.
“Not only do people need to be more physically active by walking or doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but they should also be looking at ways to reduce their sitting time,” said Richard Rosenkranz, Ph.D., who led the study along with Sara Rosenkranz, Ph. D..
Rosenkranz and Rosenkranz used data from 194,545 men and women aged 45 to 106. They found that people who exercise more and decrease their sitting time have a lower risk of chronic disease. Sitting down for long periods of time means greater chances of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease .
Most people spend the entirety of the work day sitting down, only squeezing in 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity at the end of the day. But this sedentary activity sends all the wrong messages to your brain. “We’re basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good,” Sara Rosenkranz said.
"We’re basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good."
So how can you avoid this at the office? Researchers recommend taking regular breaks to stand up or move around. “Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually upregulate that process [that stimulates your metabolism] in the body," said Sara Rosenkranz. Researchers also recommend switching to a sit/stand desk, which allows you to choose how much time you spend sitting down. And if you're really scared of being sedentary after reading this, you might even become one of those amazing superwomen who work at a treadmill desk.
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