“Sit Down! Sit Still! Be Quiet!” As kids, we all experienced more than a few of those commands from our parents. Remember how we just couldn’t keep still? We always had to be doing something whether it was running around the yard, fidgeting in our seats at school counting the seconds until recess or jumping on our beds refusing to go to sleep. Somewhere along the way we must have bought into our parents’ mantra to sit down as we’ve become a decidedly sedentary society. From computer screens to cell phones to remote controls, we don’t have to get up for anything. My last engineering job was sitting in a cubicle in a converted warehouse with no walls or windows not to mention no air conditioning in the summer months and decidedly little heat throughout the building in the winter. Now I know I have little cause to complain given the harsh conditions my military husband experienced serving his country while deployed all over the world. Still, it seemed an odd choice to barricade myself in an office, sitting on my butt for 8–10 hours a day staring at a computer screen while the breathtakingly beautiful Maine coastline and peaceful Maine woods lay just beyond my reach. Yesterday our “office” view was Kennebunkport and Walker’s Point (summer home of President George H.W. Bush & family) after a great meeting with a small business owner in the area.
Although you may not be in a position to change careers, you can make some simple changes that can dramatically improve your health, your attitude and your view!
Scientific research has concluded that sitting really does make us fatter enzymatically. The enzyme, lipase, is a fat-buster. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Lipase is an enzyme that the body uses to break down fats in foods so they can be absorbed in the intestines.” Sitting appears to shut off the circulation of this enzyme. Fat recirculates in the bloodstream leading to real trouble like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. In fact, the rates of these diseases is double or tripled in those who sit a lot. Even though you get your daily workout in, sitting the rest of the day can sabotage your progress.
Your body is designed to stand and to move. Because it engages your muscles standing can burn an extra 60 calories an hour. It improves circulation and promotes lipase distribution which means by simply standing you can become a fat burning machine!
Take a Stand
Here are some simple things you can do to improve any workplace and to improve your leisure time at home as well.
- Standing desk — replace your computer station or office desk with a standing version. My dad made me a standing desk which is what I use every day in my home office. I added an anti-fatigue mat and a step to elevate my legs to maintain proper form.
- Standing breaks — if you can’t change your desk, change your actions. Stand up and remain standing when you talk on the phone. Not only will you burn more but did you know that your voice actually sounds stronger and more confident while standing (A radio broadcaster’s trick I learned)
- Fitness Ball — replace your chair with one of those large fitness balls. Although it keeps you sitting, you have to engage your core and leg muscles to keep your balance. And, besides, it is just plain fun to bounce!
- Can’t miss your favorite shows? Take standing & walking breaks during commercials or engage in great standing activities like stretching, folding laundry (hey, its got to be done!) or even bust out a few pushups and sit-ups.
- Trade the remote for a tennis racket or any other sport and get moving. A 2003–2004 survey found that Americans spent over half of their waking hours sitting.
- Turn it off and live longer: a recent study found that every hour of TV watching after age 25 reduces your life by 22 minutes!
Maybe Mom Was Wrong After All
Okay, maybe not completely wrong, as that may get me into a lot of trouble with my own mom, but you get the point. Let’s turn our childhood constraints into a call to action. Stand Up, start moving and send a shout out to your body that you are ready, willing and able to engage your fat burning enzymes. Standing not only improves your forward view, it will certainly go a long way to improving everyone else’s view from (your) behind!
Copyright © 2012 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written consent from the author.