Don’t Just Sit There: NY Times Article

I went for a great run this morning, then came home and read THIS article…on the computer…while sitting at a desk.  It says people who exercise and then go to work actually end up sitting more than on days when they don’t exercise.  Yikes.  And then I thought about it.  When I have a hard workout, I DO feel like I deserve to take it a bit more easy during the day, and I DO!  Why is that?  When I don’t get a workout in, it seems I am always trying to find a way to make up for it by being extra active with the kids.  It sure made me think about how I spend my time during the day.  Granted I am not sitting as much as when I was working full time, but still, I could probably watch a few episodes less of Netflix a week and do something productive.

Interesting studies from the article:

  • A group of men had a leg muscle biopsied, then used crutches for two days, without putting any pressure on the biopsied leg, so the muscles wouldn’t contract.  Then they biopsied the muscles in both legs.  Results: genes were now being expressed differently!  In the un-used leg, DNA repair was being disrupted, insulin response was dropping, and metabolic activity was dropping.  It only took 2 days! (sidenote: I have ALWAYS wanted to participate in a study where my muscle was biopsied.   I am fascinated by that stuff.)
  • Check this out: A group of men were studied over several years who reported their lifestyle habits and exercise habits.  Those who exercised for more than 7 hours a week, but spent 7 hours in front of the tv were more likely to die prematurely than those who exercised seven hours but only watched 1 hour of tv a day.  (sidenote: Who watches 7 hours of tv a day??)
  • Even cooler: One study had a group sit completely still for 7 hours.  Another day they rose every 20 minutes and walked on a treadmill for 2 minutes.  Another day they jogged instead of walked.  Results:  When they sat still, blood sugar spiked and insulin was out of whack.  When they walked every 20 minutes, blood sugar levels remained normal.  Jogging didn’t make that much of a difference.  What mattered was standing intermittently.

Made me think of my good friend Ted (props to you!) who has a desk treadmill, AND he uses it.  I’ll bet his blood sugar levels are the stable-est in the office.

So, my new goal for the next few days is to take small standing/walking breaks during those rare quiet stretches of time where I am catching up on emails and blogging.  If only I had this piece of information when I was in college.  Organic Chemistry is enough to knock anyone out, but 1:00 pm after lunch, and a 90 minute class?  ouch!  I was head-bobbing every time.


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