Marc Hamilton is a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. LA. he says that a man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.
According to Hamilton, "People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum. On the far side, you have a person who exercises a lot; on the other, a person who doesn't exercise at all. However, they're not necessarily polar opposites." Hamilton and his growing body of evidence shows that even “a sculpted six pack” won’t diminish the harm caused by your office chair.
How is this possible?
The difference seems to be between 'exercise activity' and 'non-exercise activity'.
This is the difference between running, biking, or doing weights as opposed to walking, mowing the lawn, or emptying your dishwasher.
A 2007 report found that people with the highest levels of non-exercise activity burn significantly more calories than those who work out regularly. Experts say the difference simply can be about standing. People who stand on the job burn more calories than those who don’t — not matter how much the sedentary worker actually works out.
Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk is a researcher at one the nation's leading obesity research centers. He says that sitting, not weight or exercise, is a key factor in determining a person’s overall health. According to Katzmarzky, "The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong. We see it in people who smoke and people who don't. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren't. Sitting is an independent risk factor."
This may have something to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). This enzyme determines if a person will store fat or burn energy. In mice forced to lie down, LPL activity decreased. But in mice that stood around all day, LPL levels were 10 times as active.
Ultimately, experts urge people to get out of their chairs and start “non-exercising.” While this may not be practical for those stuck in an office, simple changes like taking phone calls standing up could help.
Others encourage us to redefine our workouts into all moments.
Oct 29, 2010