Obesity is epidemic in the United States and has been tied to a plethora of illnesses including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, good news is starting to emerge in the fight against obesity. In fact, a paper recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed these surprising results:
- “Men who stood up for a quarter of the time (about six hours) each day or more had a 32 percent lower risk of obesity
- “Men who stood up for about half the day had a 59 percent reduced likelihood of obesity
- “In women, standing a quarter, half, and three-quarters of the time each day was associated with a 35 percent, 47 percent, and 57 percent lower risk of obesity respectively” (hat tip to here for the source)
Consider this data: standing up six hours a day reduces obesity by one-third. Note that this study doesn’t indicate extra exercise to achieve that lower obesity level; just standing up for the prolonged period of time seems to have the beneficial effect.
Of course, if you want to supercharge these results, include regular exercise into your life, and the results improve even more.
However, exercise by itself does not counteract the negative impact of prolonged sitting. The standing is key; the exercise simply improves the results.
But why is standing so important to your overall health? Dr. Mercola answers:
“Researchers have, to a great extent, been able to determine why sitting is so detrimental, and how standing promotes health. When you’ve been sitting for a period of time and then stand up, a number of beneficial molecular cascades take place inside your body. For example, within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol — which are mediated by insulin — are activated.
“Surprising as it may sound, all of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your own body weight. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuels into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity. What this tells us is that, at the molecular level, the human body was designed to be active and on the move all day long. When you stop moving for extended periods of time, your body begins to shut down, as if preparing for death.
“In short, while we clearly need to rest from time to time, rest is supposed to break up activity; not the other way around.”
Dr. Mercola goes on to recommend the benefits of stand-up desks.
Regardless of how you change your daily routine or physical work surroundings so that you make standing and activity more of a way of life, the standing and the movement at regular intervals throughout your day are key to promoting your longevity.