By TERRY SMALL
Is sitting the new smoking? The analogy may not be far-fetched. Scientists and medical experts believe that sitting is not great for you and your brain.
So many of us sit for long stretches at work and at school. And when we get home we sit some more. Prolonged sitting is bad for your health.
It’s not alarmist to say that all this sitting may be killing us. Research show that long bouts of sitting causes serious physiological responses related to chronic disease and a shortened life span.
The University of Queensland found that people who stood frequently had lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for blood fat). They also had smaller waistlines. It was the frequency of standing not the duration that counted.
One study found that a woman’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome increased 26% for every extra hour of sitting. Prolonged sitting in an upright position can strain your back resulting in chronic pain. Blood clots are another risk of being inactive. None of this is good for your brain.
Periods of standing throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone, and vitality. Standing benefits the lean and overweight alike.
Standing frequently keeps blood flowing free to your head.
I have been telling people in my live presentations for years that standing is important for brain health. It is also important for your heart. Remember… what’s good for your heart is good for your brain.
It seems that when you sit your body pretty much stops working. You and your brain were meant to move. Consider:
· Taking more short breaks to stand and stretch (or to walk). Maybe set a timer.
· Having your meetings standing (you will save lots of time on this one).
· Standing when talking on the telephone (studies show you will be perceived as having a better attitude).
· A standing desk (or just raise your old one).
· Setting your office up so things aren’t within arm’s reach.
· Reading standing (I do a lot of this). Plus, you will remember more.
Standing for just two hours during an average workday can burn an extra 280 calories. In a year, that might provide a weight loss of 9kg.
Standing while you work improves concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. Many who stand state that their thinking is clearer and they have an increased ability to pay attention and focus.
I think the key here is to be mindful and make standing a habit. It just becomes who you are.
Congratulations on learning something about your brain today. The Brain Bulletin is committed to help to do just that.
Always remember: “You are a genius!”
Enjoy your brain.