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Researchers are finding that extended periods of sitting are not good for the metabolism. And, unfortunately, exercising doesn’t make you immune to the damage.
There’s a difference between too much sitting and too little exercise. Exercise may well be the greatest anti-aging “drug” on the planet, but it doesn’t wipe out the damage done by spending 8 hours a day in a chair.
The metabolic consequences of extended sitting are significant. The muscles go “silent,” metabolism slows and the rate at which you burn calories drops to about one calorie per minute. Your fat-burning enzymes begin to drop. Within as few as 24 hours your body is less able to use insulin effectively – you become less sensitive to insulin while your insulin resistance increases. And insulin resistance is a hallmark of obesity and diabetes.
If you exercise, you’re depositing a lot of points in your health bank account. Unfortunately, if you sit for long periods of time, you’re taking some points out. The following suggestions will minimize the withdrawals.
Stand up for a minute or so every hour. Take a walk to the water fountain. If you’re on a plane, walk to the back of the plane at least once every hour or two. At your desk, try sitting on a balance ball, which engages stabilizing muscles constantly. Or ask your company to invest in a stand-up adjustable desk. Walk up a flight of stairs. Or just do some spontaneous, casual squats for a minute once every hour or so. The point is to interrupt the extended period of sitting as often as possible.