Top of the mornin’ to ya Fitties! It’s a nice day outside, I think. My air conditioner hasn’t kicked on once! 🙂
Yesterday I tried an experiment of standing while I was working. Have you heard of the standing desk movement?
It turns out that it’s not just processed food that is killing us — it’s also our sedentary desk lives. Even people who eat healthy foods and get regular gym workouts have a higher risk of mortality and metabolic syndrome if they sit all day.
This great NY Times article puts it into perspective:
Those who sit the most during the rest of the day have larger waists and worse profiles of blood pressure and blood sugar than those who sit less. Among people who sit in front of the television for more than three hours each day, those who exercise are as fat as those who don’t: sitting a lot appears to offset some of the benefits of jogging a lot.
For many people, weight gain is a matter of slow creep — two pounds this year, three pounds next year. You can gain this much if, each day, you eat just 30 calories more than you burn. Thirty calories is hardly anything — it’s a couple of mouthfuls of banana, or a few potato chips. Thus, a little more time on your feet today and tomorrow can easily make the difference between remaining lean and getting fat.
And it’s not just the added calorie burn of standing up all day — there’s something about inactivity that interferes with proper metabolism:
As an example, consider lipoprotein lipase. This is a molecule that plays a central role in how the body processes fats; it’s produced by many tissues, including muscles. Low levels of lipoprotein lipase are associated with a variety of health problems, including heart disease. Studies in rats show that leg muscles only produce this molecule when they are actively being flexed (for example, when the animal is standing up and ambling about). The implication is that when you sit, a crucial part of your metabolism slows down.
The AntiRat and I have been talking about switching to a standing workspace for awhile. It’s not just the fat issue, it’s also the fact that sitting shortens and tightens your hip flexors. After I injured my groin a few weeks ago I am painfully conscious of how grip-y my flexors are. Simultaneously, sitting weakens your glutes and hamstrings. Glutes and hamstrings are supposed to be work horses in our body — that’s why they’re so big. So anything that over-develops a small muscle like the flexors and weakens big honkin’ muscles is not good for you.
The AntiRat has been experiencing elbow and wrist pain from his sitting position and how it relates to his keyboard. I’m finding that my arms are in a more natural aligned position when I’m standing at a workspace that’s waist-high. No torque in my wrists or resting my elbows on the desk. We’ll see how my neck feels since I’m looking down a bit at my computer (I may have to raise the screen to adjust for this). Here’s another great resource for standing work spaces.
I didn’t have to do much to change my workspace. I just carried my laptop to my kitchen counter and stood up while I worked. My muscles definitely feel it today! Another positive benefit of switching my laptop location: I usually work at my dining room table, which is also where I eat my meals. So frequently I snack while I’m working because I associate with sitting at the table with eating. Now I can just eat when I’m at the table and work elsewhere.
Have a great day Fitties! Wine Spectator arrived yesterday and we’re going to be doing some delicious Tuscan braised meat and one of my favorite wines. Slurp slurp slurp, nom nom nom!