In the mid-20th century, rapid technological advances (think: cars, TVs, computers, etc.) began chipping away at physical activity, and as technology did more of the heavy lifting, people became increasingly sedentary.
A 2008 Vanderbilt University study of 6,300 people published in the American Journal of Epidemiology estimated that the average American spends 55% of waking time (7.7 hours per day) in sedentary behaviors such as sitting.
Physical inactivity is the 4th leading cause of global mortality.
Lipoprotein Lipase enzymes in the blood vessels essentially go to sleep after 60 – 90 minutes of inactivity.
These enzymes are responsible for metabolizing fats and sugars in the blood stream. Physical movement is thought to stimulate enzyme activity and improve cholesterol & regulate blood sugar. Lack of movement and low enzyme activity contribute to weight gain, diabetes and a reduction in HDL- the good cholesterol.
It’s a common misconception that exercise can compensate for too much sitting. Even if you engage in the doctor-recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, you are still subject to the negative impact of too much sitting.
Low intensity, ‘non-exercise’ activities like standing and walking are much more important than most realize. In fact, low level activities play a crucial metabolic role and account for more of our daily energy expenditure than moderate-to-high intensity activities.
The Good News:
Standing, walking, fidgeting, and contracting/relaxing the muscles every hour or more seems to reactivate the sleeping Lipoprotein Lipase enzymes. This stimulates the metabolism.
What you can do:
- Practice the sit-stand switch: every 30 minutes; alternate between sitting and standing.
- Stand up when someone comes to your desk to talk about a project.
- Incorporate stretching or simple exercises into both seated and standing positions.
- Conduct standing or walking meetings with team members.
- Schedule walking times.
- Standing desks.
What you can do – useful apps:
Allows you to set alerts at desired intervals to remind you to take a break from sitting. You can customize your break times and lengths, and easily swipe to reschedule breaks and disable reminders.
Move – Daily Activity to Stay Healthy
The Move app is a great way to stay reminded to stand up and move. But it also has hundreds of random workouts for you to choose from. You can choose the interval of breaks and the length.
Stand Up! The Work Break Timer
This app can be completely customized to your work schedule. You can use it to remind yourself to move at intervals from 5 minutes to 2 hours. It also includes a countdown timer until your next break.
StandApp includes an alarm reminder to stand and step away from the desk. Along with reminders, it includes simple exercises that can be done right there at your desk during your standing break.