ANAHEIM, Calif. – The new science of sedentary behavior, or “inactivity physiology,” provides sobering evidence that merely sitting can be hazardous to your health, an expert said yesterday at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 15th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition. Adults and children who spend 70 percent or more of each waking day working at a desk, riding in a car, watching TV or working at a computer are particularly at risk, said Len Kravitz, Ph.D.
“Sitting results in dramatic drops in lipoprotein lipase, which captures fat from blood and uses it as fuel,” said Kravitz. “This leads to soaring levels of triglicerides, elevated risk of cardiovascular disease and lower levels of good cholesterol.”
Even a little weight loss – three to five percent of body weight – can be good for your health. Benefits include improved cholesterol levels, better glucose metabolism and lower risk for cardiovascular disease.
Though diet is crucial, it’s also important to focus on physical activity. Those who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off average three to seven hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week. “Consistent physical activity is the best predictor of sustained weight loss,” said Kravitz.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways to increase physical activity. Kravitz suggested a few ideas:
Staying Active at Work
- Stand up and walk around the office every 30 minutes.
- Use the farthest bathroom from your desk.
- Make every coffee break a walking break.
- Take stairs rather than short elevator rides.
- See co-workers at their desks rather than emailing or calling.
Staying Active at Home
- When watching TV, get up and move during every commercial break.
- Take a family walk after dinner.
- Cut the grass with a push mower.
- Replace the Sunday drive with a Sunday walk.
- Park in the far corners of parking lots.
- Pace the sidelines during your kids’ games.
Also, contrary to what your teachers may have said, don’t stop fidgeting. This little activity can burn up to 350 calories per day, leading to weight loss of 35 pounds per year.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 40,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.