I’m sitting down while writing this, and I’m not feeling good about it. Why? Because all the data shows that standing and walking more often helps you stay healthy.
We have such a sedentary lifestyle and it needs to change. Offices are being redesigned to encourage more walking. Friends of mine use standing desks at work to keep them on their toes (pun very much intended). The fact is, we sit too much, and not even “exercise” will help.
You can’t out-exercise a crappy diet. Exercise is great, and I am by no means saying you should stop, but it doesn’t undo the bad stuff. What needs to happen is to integrate healthy ideas into our lifestyles, but many people don’t know the health benefits is standing.
A Rolling Stone…
We are gathering moss. Not literally, but all this sitting is killing us. What does our sedentary lifestyle do to our bodies?
- Higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
- Higher blood sugar levels and reduced insulin sensitivity
- Higher blood pressure
- Lower mental alertness and positivity
- Higher measures of inflammation
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How do we combat this when we’re stuck at work all day? Just stand and walk. Walking for a few minutes every half hour or so greatly improves your metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and overall health.
Too much sitting can even lead to disease. There is no direct relation, but there are definite links between being less mobile and developing certain diseases. Diseases such as:
- Diabetes mellitus
- High blood pressure
Dr. James Levine, of the Mayo clinic, actually ran tests to discover the dangers of too much sitting. About 10 years ago Dr. Levine ran a study to see what links could be made between movement and health. He had both thin and overweight people track their caloric intake and wear sensors in their underwear. Seriously. They consumed roughly the same amount of calories, but the sensors showed the thin people were more active than the obese people.
And it wasn’t exercise. It was the simple things, like walking or biking to work, or taking a break from sitting to walk around the office.
Take This And Run With It
The simple takeaway is this: there is a number of health problems associated with our sedentary lifestyle, and simply by walking more often, you can greatly reduce these risks.
There’s no need for upheaval, no need for a total change. Just walk when you can. At least it’ll get you away from your desk for a few minutes each day.
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