During the past year, sitting has become the new smoking. “Past studies have found,” declares a 2014 article in The New York Times, “the more hours that people spend sitting, the more likely they are to develop diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, and potentially to die prematurely — even if they exercise regularly.” What’s the science behind this alarming claim? The animated TED-ED video (above) begins to paint the picture. But it doesn’t get into the latest and perhaps most important research. According to science writer Gretchen Reynolds, a recent Swedish study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that when you sit all day, your telomeres (the tiny caps on the ends of DNA strands) get shorter. Which is not a good thing. As telomeres get shorter, the rate at which the body ages and decays speeds up. Conversely, the study found “that the telomeres in [those] who were sitting the least had lengthened. Their cells seemed to be growing physiologically younger.”
Several months ago, KQED radio in San Francisco aired a program dedicated to this question, featuring medical and ergonomics experts. To delve deeper into it, listen below. Or click here.
Meanwhile, if you have advice on how to incorporate movement into your day, please share it with your fellow readers in the comments section below.
And if your mind immediately drifts to buying a standing desk, then check out our related post: Who Wrote at Standing Desks? Kierkegaard, Dickens and Ernest Hemingway Too
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