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Sitting Can Kill You!

(September 21, 2011) Here is an article from Dr. Amen's Blog. Dr. Amen is the CEO and medical director of Amen Clinics, Inc.

The Amen Clinics specializes in brain health and innovative diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of neuropsychiatric, behavioral, and learning problems in children, teenagers, and adults.

A new study found that people who sit for most of the day are 54% more likely to die of heart attacks. It does not matter how much you exercise or how healthy your diet it, if you sit for most of the day, the chances of you dying from a heart attack doubles!

The study took place over a span of 13 years, analyzing the lifestyles and daily habits of over 17,000 men and women. While the researchers were able to formulate these statistics, they were still unable to give a concrete reason as to why sitting for long periods of time can be so detrimental to your health. Marc Hamilton, Ph. D., "suspects it has to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy". The researcher discovered that standing rats had 10 times the amount of this enzyme coursing through their bodies than laying rats did. No matter how fit and healthy the rats were, when they laid down, their LPL levels dropped dramatically.

There are 3 things that happen when you sit at your office chair for too long:
  • Posture- tissue that connects individual muscles begins to set after staying in one position for too long

  • Calories- you burn 60 more calories when standing versus sitting, also when you sit your glutes (largest muscle group) are at rest, which means that you burn even less calories

  • Back pain- when you sit your pelvis is pushed forward which puts pressure on your spine
If you want to be healthy and avoid having a heart attack call your number, then you can follow these 4 steps:
  • Breaks- taking two breaks an hour can give you a chance to stand and stretch your legs

  • Standing phone calls- standing during a phone call may seem insufficient in making a difference, but it will add up, and help you stay on your feet, and not on your butt

  • Emails- do not write emails that take longer than 15 minutes, if it does, call that person instead and make sure you stand when you are doing so

  • Asking for a standup desk- workers who sit for more than 6 hours a day are almost 70% more likely to be overweight.

Investing your efforts in a standup desk just may be a great solution to living longer and healthier, make sure your computer screen is at arm's length and at eye level, and your keyboard is raised up so that your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle.

So remember, stay smart, stay healthy and stay standing!

About Dr. Amen
Dr. Amen is a physician, child and adult psychiatrist, brain imaging specialist, bestselling author, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the CEO and medical director of Amen Clinics, Inc. (ACI) in Newport Beach and San Francisco, California; Bellevue, Washington; and Reston, Virginia.

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