Is sitting unhealthy? Dr. James Levine has perhaps done more than anybody else to advance our understanding of this topic. There are some great videos available online of Dr. Levine speaking about sitting, one of which is available here. I’ve shared some of my notes on his work below.
Is Sitting Unhealthy? Article Highlights
All quotes are from Dr. Levine.
- – Americans sit more than ever before.
- – “Like tobacco, sitting is hazardous to your health”
- – A daily trip to the gym, while beneficial, can’t undo the damage done from sitting all day.
- – “Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterwards or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. It appears that what is critical and maybe even more important than going to the gym, is breaking up that sitting time.”
- – “People who are lean, even who don’t go to the gym, move about two and a quarter hours a day more than people with obesity. They fidget more and find ways to get up and move – more. Strong genetic component.”
- – “If you take that historical view of this, you realize we’re living a completely different way to how we were designed.” (See more about our perspective on this concept here)
Is Sitting Unhealthy? Metabolic Effects of Sitting
- – The muscles stop moving all together and the heart slows.
- – Calorie-burning rate plummets to about one calorie per minute — a third of what it would be if you were walking.
- – Insulin effectiveness drops and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises.
- – Fat and cholesterol levels rise too.
Is Sitting Unhealthy? Perhaps, but here are some solutions
- – Spending less time at their desks.
- – Take a walk with a friend at lunchtime.
- – Have a walking meeting with a colleague.
- – Go the restroom that is farther away from your desk.
We agree that these are great suggestions. Considering implementing if you’re not already.
Here is an excerpt from our Optimize Your Health infographic describing how to live as, what we call, an Enduring Mover.