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Sitting is Lethal


May 21, 2012

There seems to be a growing body of research called “inactivity studies” that suggests that sitting is lethal. Why do some people eat the same amount of food as others and gain weight, while others don’t. The key is activity. The people who don’t gain weight are subconsciously more active.

“We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,” explains Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic researcher…” But the answer was much simpler. “The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen says.

“They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t.”

There are lots of problems that arise when this happens. When you aren’t moving your muscles go “silent,” which leads to a dramatic plunge in calorie-burning rate, a significant drop in insulin effectiveness (leading to diabetes), decreases in important enzymes the causes good HDL cholesterol to fall. Within 24 hours “deep metabolic effects of inactivity are in full swing.”

All this adds up to higher death rates. Inactive men have an overall death rate of 20 percent higher than active men. An increased death rate for inactive women is 40% higher. Watching an additional hour of television increased risk of premature death by 11 percent.
“Sitting for 9 hours a day is bad for you whether you go to the gym or not afterwards. ‘Excessive sitting is a lethal activity,’” says Dr. Levine, the lead researcher at the Mayo Clinic study.

“Those who combine useful labor with study have no need of gymnastic exercises. And work performed in the open air is tenfold more beneficial to health than in-door labor. Both the mechanic and the farmer have physical exercise, yet the farmer is the healthier of the two. Nothing short of nature’s invigorating air and sunshine will fully meet the demands of the system. The tiller of the soil finds in his labor all the movements that were ever practiced in the gymnasium. His movement-room is the open fields. The canopy of heaven is its roof, the solid earth its floor. Here he plows and hoes, sows and reaps. Watch him, as in “haying time” he mows and rakes, pitches and tumbles, lifts and loads, throws off, treads down, and stows away. These various movements call into action the bones, joints, muscles, sinews, and nerves of the body. His vigorous exercise causes full, deep, strong inspirations and exhalations, which expand the lungs and purify the blood, sending the warm current of life bounding through arteries and veins. A farmer who is temperate in all his habits, usually enjoys health. His work is pleasant to him. He has a good appetite. He sleeps well, and may be happy.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, page, 73-74

Hal Mayer - Keep the Faith Ministry – Health Briefings