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Sitting & Heart Attacks?

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
The Most Dangerous Thing You'll Do All Day

The Most Dangerous Thing You'll Do All Day

By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men's Health
Mar 30, 2011


We stand around a lot here at Men’s Health. In fact, a few of us don’t even have office chairs. Instead, we write, edit, and answer e-mails—a lot of e-mails—while standing in front of our computers. All day long. Why?

It all started last summer, when Assistant Editor Maria Masters came across a shocking study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (one of dozens of research journals we comb each month as we put together the magazine). Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks.

That’s right—I said 54 percent!

Masters immediately called the lead researcher at Pennington, a professor named Peter Katzmarzyk. Turns out, this wasn’t the first study to link sitting and heart disease. Similar research actually dates back to 1953, when British researchers found that (sitting) bus drivers were twice as likely to die of heart attacks as (standing) trolley operators.

Here’s the most surprising part: “We see it in people who smoke and people who don’t,” Katzmarzyk told Masters. “We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren’t. Sitting is an independent risk factor.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or how well you eat. If you sit most of the day, your risk of leaving this world clutching your chest—whether you’re a man or women—as much as doubles.
Bonus Tip: For the latest health, fitness, and nutrition tips and advice, check out our all-new Today's News channel!
This raised a rather obvious question: Why? Truth is, the researchers aren’t sure. But Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., one of Katzmarkzyk’s colleagues, suspects it has to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy. Hamilton found that standing rats have ten times more of the stuff coursing through their bodies than laying rats. It doesn’t matter how fit the rats are; when they leave their feet, their LPL levels plummet. Hamilton believes the same happens in humans.

Still sitting? Then you should know that your office chair also:

1. Screws up your posture. The fascia, the tissue that connects individual muscles into a full-body network, begins to set when you stay in one position for too long, says Men’s Health advisor Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., a physical therapist in Indianapolis. If you’re hunched over a keyboard all day, this eventually becomes your normal posture.

2. Makes you fatter. This happens for two reasons. First, you burn 60 more calories an hour when standing versus sitting. But more importantly, says Hartman, when you spend too much time sitting, your largest muscle group—the glutes (a.k.a. your butt)—become lazy and quit firing. This is called gluteal amnesia. And it means you burn fewer calories.

3. Causes lower back pain. Weak glutes push your pelvis forward, putting stress on the spine, says Hartman. Here’s the other unseemly thing that happens when your pelvis tilts forward: Your belly protrudes, making you look 5 months pregnant.
Bonus Tip: For more strategies that will keep you fit and healthy for life, check out The Best Fitness Tips Ever!
So what’s a desk-bound worker to do? First, Hamilton suggests you change how you think about fitness. We have a tendency to segment our lives—work, home, and downtime. Exercise falls into the last category, something we squeeze into our busy schedules when possible. But if you stop thinking about exercise as an activity, and instead think of it as a lifestyle, it’s easier to make healthy choices throughout the day.

In other words: Stop trying to be fit, and start trying to live fit.

Second, of course, is to stand more throughout the day. These strategies will get you up on your feet more often:

Strategy #1: Take two breaks an hour. Grab a drink from the water fountain. Pop over to the cube next door to say hi. Or simply stand and stretch for a minute. A European Heart Journal study of 5,000 men and women found that the quarter who took the most breaks during the day were 1.6 inches thinner than the quarter who took the least.

Strategy #2: Stand during phone calls. It may seem like a small thing but, as Hamilton told Masters: “Small choices will help move you in the right direction. . . . It all adds up, and it all matters.”

Strategy #3: Don’t write long emails. If crafting an email will take longer than 15 minutes, go talk to the person instead. Or stand up and call them.

And if that’s not enough (and it may not be) . . .

Strategy #4: Ask HR for a standup desk. Australian researchers found that workers who log more than 6 hours of seat time a day are up to 68 percent more likely to be overweight. If you make the changes above and your waistline isn’t shrinking, a standup desk may be the answer. Make sure the screen is at arm’s length, and the top at eye level. Position the keyboard so your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Men’s Health Senior Editor Bill Stieg built his own. Check it out.
So, GFers, how many hours do you sit per day? Thoughts on the article? Will this cause you to take action to change habits?
 
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Shwa

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
I dunno, there are good points to what the article has stated but thats mostly general talk on just not sitting down too long in one position. Every so often people to move and fix themselves, and yes like the article has stated, I'm sure they eventually get up and stretch. If this is the same for office life, then other prime examples would be for those who go to sporting events that last longer than 5 hours, etc.

I'm on my feet for 8 hours a day for the most part during work, so sitting is a luxury for me. When I do sit, it's to eat food at home or at work, or just lay around in my bed.

~Shwa
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
Ahhhh! I sit WAY too much. Thanks for this article, I am going to start standing more now. I do have lower back pain as well. It's probably because I sit too much.
 

Shwa

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
... I do have lower back pain as well. It's probably because I sit too much.

Yes, and we all sat a lot during our schooling years. But I honestly doubt that's the cause of your back pain, possibly it's the activities you do during the day and sitting doesn't help. That can be a leading cause, but just sitting for long periods, makes me very doubtful.

~Shwa
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
Yes, and we all sat a lot during our schooling years. But I honestly doubt that's the cause of your back pain, possibly it's the activities you do during the day and sitting doesn't help. That can be a leading cause, but just sitting for long periods, makes me very doubtful.

~Shwa
Either way I just watched a whole TV show while standing and stepping on the spot. This article freaked me out! I need to cut back on my sitting.
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
lol Crouton it's definitely not something to freak out about; the suggestions in the article for people that spend their days in front of a computer screen are pretty simple and not over the top. Just following those and having an exercise regimen in your life is probably just fine.
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
That could explain the size of my gluteous haha. I work standing on my feet 8 hours a day. I tend to spend the rest of the time sitting watching tv or on my computer. I'm hoping to reduce that amount by ten fold now that I'm getting out biking. I tend to get up often to grab more water and stuff, but probably not often enough. A nice informative article.
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
Yeah it definitely makes you look at your daily life; luckily for me, Social Work can be a field that involves a lot of walking around. My internship definitely does. There are definitely days I wish I was stuck at a desk, though!

I like their suggestions; I mean besides getting a new desk, they're pretty common sense and easy to implement.
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
lol Crouton it's definitely not something to freak out about; the suggestions in the article for people that spend their days in front of a computer screen are pretty simple and not over the top. Just following those and having an exercise regimen in your life is probably just fine.
But I DO spend most days sitting in front of a computer all day. Again... ahhh. Although I do go for lots of hour-long walks. That's bound to be good.
 

Metoria

Registered Member
I read that article! It has some good points, but I pictured people who have a JOB that makes them sit ALL DAY like a cubicle work. Or kids who play way too much WoW. >.>

I get restless leg syndrome to badly and most people I know can't sit still for long periods of time without moving around a bit.

I know my sister is a writer and she sits at her desk constantly. But even she gets antsy (especially with the nice weather) and has to go out to jump on the trampoline.

I think in extreme circumstances this Article is true. But I'd like to think people take better care of themselves than others think.

I can be really lazy!... okay very lazy >.> but I also try to get some kind of exercise and if my butt starts getting sore at my desk I get up. Most people would- I hope. XD

But like I said before

I believe people take better care of themselves than others think.
 
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