When did you last get up off your chair? If you spend more than 70 percent of your working day hunched over a desk, riding in a car, working at a computer or otherwise not standing up, you could be risking your health, experts say. Here’s how standing up can help you burn fat, lose weight and boost your overall health.
Is it a surprise that laziness is bad for your health?
Apparently laziness has become so rampant that scientists now have a name for it. The new science of sedentary behavior, also known “inactivity behavior,” provides evidence that sitting can be hazardous to your health, according to an expert at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 15th annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition. (Sorry, thumb action sending texts doesn’t count as activity.)
Being sedentary hurts your heart
Here’s why you need to stand up right now: Sitting causes a drop in an enzyme, lipoprotein lipase. It’s as serious as it sounds. You see, lipoprotein lipase is responsible for taking fat from your blood and using it for fuel. So a drop in its activity leads to soaring levels of triglycerides (the most prevalent form of fat in our body), says exercise science expert Len Kravitz, Ph.D. “It also increases your risk of heart disease and lowers levels of good cholesterol.” Who needs that?
Get up and move – even a little – to lose weight
The good news: Standing, walking around and otherwise staying active throughout the day can help keep the enzyme active and keep your metabolism stoked. It also burns more calories if you’re trying to drop a few pounds. If you think you only need to cut out calories to lose weight, here’s something else to consider: Dieting without exercising to lose weight makes you more likely to lose muscle along with the fat, so you end up thinner but flabbier — not a good look for the beach.
Rev up your physical activity for long-term weight loss
Plus, if you exercise moderately to vigorously three to seven hours a week, you’re more likely to keep off the weight for good. “Consistent physical activity is the best predictor of sustained weight loss,” says Kravitz. In other words, keep moving to keep fat at bay.
Ways to burn more fat throughout the day
- Stand up and walk around the office every 30 minutes and/or walk around while on the phone.
- Use the farthest bathroom from your desk.
- Make every coffee break a walking break.
- Take stairs rather than short elevator rides.
- Visit co-workers at their desks rather than emailing or calling.
- When watching TV, get up 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 mall parking lots.
Finally, fidget when you are sitting (keep it subtle during business or parent-teacher meetings, however): Fidgeting burns up to 350 calories a day, which can lead to a weight loss of 35 pounds per year!