Bear’s thoughts and opinions have been heavily influenced by the knowledge and expertise of
Dr. Vinita Azarow, D.C. Mountain View Chiropractic Center Mountain View, CA

Don’t Just Sit. Stand!

Prolonged sitting is terrible for our health.

This is widely accepted, but in spite of mounting evidence, about 75% of us spend most of our days sitting. For many of us this means more than eight hours per day off our feet and consequentially for some of us, potentially 300 to 500 calories not burned for each of those days.

This is even a problem for those who regularly perform vigorous exercise, as prolonged sitting blunts the positive effects gained from physical activity. Even 30 minutes of vigorous exercise will not protect us from the negative consequences of being sedentary if we sit more than four hours per day.

Prolonged sitting is bad for even for the fittest people. Sitting after a meal can lead to high blood sugar spikes, whereas getting up after eating can cut those spikes in half.

The Body is Designed for Activity, not Idleness. 

Without movement, our metabolism slows down. Without the demand for energy to fuel our activities, more of our energy is converted and stored as fat.

In an interesting set of experiments, Dr. James Levine, determined that sedentary people sat an average of two and a quarter hours more each day than physically active people. Furthermore, the physically active subjects expended 350 calories a day more than their sedentary counterparts. A primary reason for this is that physically active subjects walked more and did NEAT movements.

NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

NEAT activities are not vigorous exercise such as sports activities – going to the gym, exercise/yoga class, running, or cycling.

NEAT activities are simply activities of daily living: various types of household/gardening tasks – washing dishes, folding clothes, raking leaves, etc.

These non-exercise activities are key. When we’re sitting, none of those NEAT activities are taking place, but NEAT activities are what keep our metabolism humming along.

In the workplace, these activities might be: standing to take a phone all, taking a walk while discussing a project with a colleague, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a brief walk after lunch, using a standing desk, etc.  There are portable desk tops that’ll convert your desk to a standing desk.  A post meal stroll is a very good idea.

The temptation to sit is everywhere and the physiological changes are profound. However, with simple lifestyle changes to incorporate more NEAT movements, one can gain immense health benefits!

What sorts of creative ideas do you have for NEAT movements? Brainstorm your ideas with your doctor!

Read more of Bear’s Thoughts on Travel & Health