Taking a stand

Why simply spending a little more time standing and moving can be great for your health  (and your waistline!)

It seems we are spending more and more time sitting down at work and on the computer. Have you stopped to consider how this is affecting your wellbeing?

It is now clear that people who spend a lot of time sitting down are more prone to obesity, as well as many other metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

 

A recent study by Dr Jim Levine (Mayo Clinic, 2011) found that there is a really big difference in the amount of calories people burn with everyday movements. When they looked at what happened when lean people were fed a heavy meal they found that they quickly burnt off the extra calories, in contrast to overweight people who tended to store the calories as excess body fat.
 
The secret to this they discovered was NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - the calories you burn with everyday movement). It was found that when the lean people were given an overload of calories, they tended to start walking around and moving more than those who were overweight. Some people have called this the “fidget” factor.
 
Now of course genetic background and having a sedentary job versus one that has you ‘up and moving’ can influence this too, but we can use the results of this research to our advantage pretty easily.
 
It is clear is that if you move from sitting to standing there is a small increase in calories burned. However, when standing you’re much more likely to move around, and as a result your metabolic rate doubles, so you burn twice as many calories… Even more if it’s a brisk walk!
 
So why wait any longer? By getting up right now and walking to the letterbox you are doing your wellbeing a big favour…even if the mail has not arrived!

 

By Annabel Ralph

 

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