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Picture credit: DreamWorks Animation
A whole cascade of positive metabolic effects are activated
within two minutes of getting up from your desk and onto your feet
When ring-tailed lemur King Julien XIII and his animal friends danced
to the catchy tune ‘I Like to Move it, Move it' in the animated family
favourite Madagascar, little did we know he was relaying a
serious message to white collar workers and students.
In recent years, physiologists have found that sedentary workers
(those who work sitting down most of the day) need to regularly ‘move
it' to avoid serious medical complications.
According to experts, moving about – even for five minutes every hour
– significantly reduces your chances of succumbing to obesity, heart
disease and diabetes, not to mention cancer.
"You increase your metabolic rate between 10 and 20 per cent
above the resting rate simply by getting up off your bottom - not
walking anywhere - but simply standing up,'' says Dr James Levine,
professor of medicine with the famous Mayo Clinic in the United States.
And Dr Levine found a whole cascade of positive metabolic effects are
activated within two minutes of getting up from your desk and onto
your feet. That cascade involves activation of the insulin receptor
and the fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase. Standing up engages
muscles and promotes the distribution of lipase, which prompts the
body to process fat and cholesterol, independent of the amount of time
spent exercising. He also found it uses blood glucose and may
discourage the development of diabetes.
All these positive effects are deactivated within several minutes of
sitting down again, causing the body to shut down the circulation of
the fat-absorbing enzyme.
Levine was well-known for his research on obesity and lack of
activity and was a pioneer in the creation of the alternative
workstation, Walkstation, a treadmill desk that you exercise at while
you work. He also published a study showing that lean people burn
about 350 more calories a day than overweight people, by pacing,
fidgeting or walking around the office.
But it's not just Levine and other health gurus that trumpet the
benefits of standing up and moving it. A booklet recently published by
Australian health care provider Medibank Private, called Stand up
Australia, recommends that employers consider their employees'
sitting down time as a workplace health and safety hazard. The booklet
recommended auditing levels of sitting among staff and "exploring
opportunities to reduce sitting in the workplace."
So, here are some suggestions for moving it more in your workplace,
home or home office, while still putting in a fair day's work or a
good night's study:
Even if you reduce sitting by five minutes an hour, at the end of a
long day, you've shaved an hour off your total sitting time. Of
course, formal exercise you do at the gym, in the pool, on the field
or with the kids after work will lead to a healthier and happier you.
So, what are you waiting for, don't sit there wallowing in it. Turn
up the speakers, get up from your desk and MOVE IT, MOVE IT!