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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Physical Activity can be a Miracle Cure of Many Ailments

Posted by Dr Prahallad Panda on 5:57 PM Comments

I saw in the office of a CEO (Chief Executive Officer), who has a standing desk for official works, like looking into files, writing replies and discussing with the officials. He is a very health conscious person. He walks everyday and plays badminton, when time permits. Apart from all of these physical activities, he prefers to work in standing desk.
Standing puts many muscles to work for, while sitting does not. Now-a-days, due to the very nature of job, many have become sedentary. Many are not able to complete 30 minutes of walk 4-5 times in a week. Added to it is the woo of sedentary life, poses more risk for diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease etc..

A sedentary person, or
A sedentary person, or "typical couch potato" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some studies suggest that those who sit all day live around two years less than those who are more active. In a 2012 study by Harvard researchers published in the Lancet medical journal claimed that sitting down had caused more deaths globally than tobacco.
If a person sleeps for 7 hours a day and on a modern day job, he might be spending as much as 16 hours in sitting in his office and watching TV in residence. Even if, he walks for one hour a day, the sedentary life style for 16 hours may nullify the benefits. It is stressed that in addition to intense physical activity, one must also be active most of the time excluding sleep time.
Standing-up increases the heart rate by about ten beats a minute, which in turn burns an extra 0.7 calories a minute, or 50 an hour.

Graphite, on tan wove paper, laid down on comm...
Graphite, on tan wove paper, laid down on commercially prepared ivory wove card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now, that doesn't sound like much, but it adds up to about 50 calories an hour. If you stand for three hours a day for five days that's around 750 calories burnt. Over the course of a year, it would be about 30,000 calories. In other words, it would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year; just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work.
While standing, one alternates load on legs; muscles of thigh, back and abdomen also work to maintain a straight posture; consume calories. On the contrary, sitting may cause some stagnation in blood circulation.
This can be achieved by holding stand-up meetings, coffees or lunches or set aside a certain amount of time to work standing up.
Standing while you are working may seem rather odd, but it is a practice with a long tradition. Winston Churchill wrote while working at a special standing desk, as did Ernest Hemingway and Benjamin Franklin.
The evidence that standing up is good for you goes back to at least the 1950s when a study was done comparing bus conductors (who stand) with bus drivers (who don't). This study, published in the Lancet, showed that the bus conductors had around half the risk of developing heart disease of the bus drivers.
Prolonged sitting has been associated with a high incidence of back complaints, increased spinal intra-disc pressure build up, discomfort in the lower extremities and increased muscle loading of the neck.
However, neither static standing nor sitting is recommended. Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Research indicates that constrained sitting or constrained standing are risk factors and that alternating work postures may be preferable. Alternation between two postures allows for increased rest intervals of specific body parts, and reduced potential for risk factors commonly associated with development of Musculo-skeletal disorder.
A different set of studies suggests that simple inactivity by itself may cause harm by altering the metabolism. It has been seen that simple sitting decreases the level of Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL), one of the critical enzymes that regulates the levels of triglycerides and HDL (high-density lipoprotein, good cholesterol). Level of triglycerides goes up and that of HDL goes down in such a situation. This enzyme is located in muscle and adipose tissue. In a decreased state, uptake of triglycerides decreases, that means, more is available in circulation to do harm. After just a few hours of inactivity, there occurs changes in the activity levels of over 100 genes.
It doesn’t matter, if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting — in your car, your office chair, on your sofa at home — you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death. In other words, irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.
Let us stand up and work.

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