Tag Archives: sitting

Sitting is Bad for Your Brain, Not Just Your Heart or Metabolism

It’s been a couple of years now since I first learned the dangers of prolonged sitting. Someone even called ‘sitting the new smoking.‘ I thought that might have been excessive – might have been. However, this new information from UCLA researchers certainly adds resonance to the problem for seniors.

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Sitting too much is linked to changes in a section of the brain that is critical for memory, according to a preliminary study by UCLA researchers of middle-aged and older adults.

Studies show that too much sitting, like smoking, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Researchers at UCLA wanted to see how sedentary behavior influences brain health, especially regions of the brain that are critical to memory formation.

METHOD

UCLA researchers recruited 35 people ages 45 to 75 and asked about their physical activity levels and the average number of hours per day they spent sitting over the previous week. Each person had a high-resolution MRI scan, which provides a detailed look at the medial temporal lobe, or MTL, a brain region involved in the formation of new memories.

The researchers found that sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of thinning of the MTL and that physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods.

This study does not prove that too much sitting causes thinner brain structures, but instead that more hours spent sitting are associated with thinner regions, researchers said. In addition, the researchers focused on the hours spent sitting, but did not ask participants if they took breaks during this time.

The researchers next hope to follow a group of people for a longer duration to determine if sitting causes the thinning and what role gender, race, and weight might play in brain health related to sitting.

IMPACT

MTL thinning can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults. Reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions designed to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said.

Please check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? for more details on the common practice.

Tony

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, Exercise, memory, prolonged sitting, sedentary lifestyle, sitting too long

Further on the dangers of sitting too long

About a year ago I began to learn the dangers of prolonged sitting. I posted a Page on it – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?  Which you can check out at your leisure. The following analysis comes from Texas A & M University.

It’s a popular catchphrase: “Sitting is the new smoking.” A phrase that is often attributed to James A. Levine, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic, but even he seems to have pulled back from that characterization a little, now simply saying that sitting for long periods of time is linked to conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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And it’s the obesity that really leads to problems, according to Mark Benden, PhD, CPE, associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and director of the Ergonomics Center at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. He studies the use of sit-stand desks to promote physical activity. “The better metaphor might be obesity is the new smoking,” Benden said. “That’s a little closer from a cause-and-effect standpoint, in terms of the number of people dying from these preventable causes each year.” Continue reading

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Can too much sitting erase exercise benefits?

I have written about the dangers of prolonged sitting previously. You can check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?  for further information on it.

White matter is brain tissue containing nerve fibers responsible for brain communication. As we age, nerve fiber activity declines and disrupts brain function. But a new study suggests that among older adults, the structural integrity of white matter is not only dependent on levels of physical activity, but also on the amount of remaining time spent sedentary, according to Medical News Today.

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Lead researcher Agnieszka Burzynska, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, and her team publish their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Past studies have associated physical activity among older adults with reduced cognitive decline. In 2012, research from the University of Scotland in the UK found that seniors who had high levels of physical activity had fewer problems with memory and thinking skills, while a 2013 study claimed exercise is beneficial for the cognitive functioning of dementia patients. Continue reading

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Filed under brain, brain damage, brain function, Exercise, prolonged sitting, sitting, sitting too long

How to sneak exercise into your day

Eat less; move more; live longer. Let’s be more specific about that moving part.

According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:

Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

That is really not a lot of exercise to sneak into a seven-day week. But, this is an old guy who has been retired for 17 years talking. What about the guy/gal who is clocking 50 or more hours a week on a demanding job with after work dinners and out of town travel assignments. All of a sudden a total of 2.5 hours a week becomes difficult to downright impossible.

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Consider a desk that allows you to stand to protect yourself from the damage of prolonged sitting.

Well, WebMD has some really good ideas on how to squeeze some exercise into each day – even with a demanding job. You can check them all out at the link, but here are some that particularly impressed me. Continue reading

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Bear up, don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard

Despite global warming, Chicago, where I live, has been suffering from some serious winter weather. I can pretty much ride my bike year ’round here, but I draw the line at single digits. I haven’t been able to find a mask that protects my face from frostbite and at the same time, doesn’t leak my breath up into my glasses – fogging them. Living in a high rise building, I can usually take to the stairs and still get in a workout, with the benefit of weight-bearing exercise, to boot. There is also a health club downstairs, but I really don’t enjoy them.

For those of you who may have similar wintertime woes, Harvard has some suggestions for keeping yourself healthy.

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1. Make some soup

Instead of a snow day baking sweet treats, try making a big batch of soup. You can experiment with different ingredients all winter long, providing you with a healthy distraction from the cold and an endless source of nutritious, warm meals.

Want to increase the fun factor? Try a “Soup Swap” with friends, where everyone makes a different type and divides it into batches for easy sharing. Continue reading

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Sitting too long may raise heart disease risk – AHA

In December 2013 I posted for the first time on the dangers of sitting too long. “I must confess I was amazed to learn that simply sitting for long periods could be as the headline says, “Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity.” So, it’s not enough to exercise regularly, you also need to make sure that you don’t sit immobile for long periods….” That was the first sentence in the post Too much sitting can be hazardous to your health and longevity.

Now comes the American Heart Association saying, “Being sedentary is not just a lack of exercise, it is a potentially independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“According to the statement, sedentary behavior may be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked to diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. (my emphasis)
Continue reading

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6 Tips to Keep You Healthy – Infographic

Keeping healthy doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as losing weight, but, ironically, if you can keep yourself healthy, you won’t have to lose weight. Here are a half dozen tips that can help you whether you work in an office or are an old retired person like me.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Regarding the office ergonomics, don’t forget the dangers of prolonged sitting. Make sure you get up and walk around every hour or so.

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Tony

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Tufts University on the Value of Brief Walks vs. the Dangers of Too Much Sitting

I am now in my sixth year of writing this blog. It started out as a weight loss guide, but over the years has morphed into a full service mental and physical health project. Weight loss isn’t off the table; it is just a byproduct of keeping oneself in tiptop health.

That little bit of history was because of a recent publication from Tufts University.

Regular readers know that I am a big advocate of both walking (Check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More) and protecting against the dangers of too much sitting. (Check out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?)

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So I was most pleasantly surprised to run across the following from Tufts:

“Multiple studies have warned about the health risks of sitting too much. Hours spent sitting, whether at desks or in front of the television, have been linked to increased odds of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and kidney problems. But modern life can make it difficult to stay out of chairs, and alternatives such as “standing desks” don’t appeal to everyone.

“A new study may offer hope to sedentary sitters: Using data on more than 3,600 adults, researchers found that brief periods of simply walking around the room substantially reduced mortality risk among people who spent long periods sitting. As little as two minutes of gentle walking per hour was associated with a 33% lower risk compared to non-stop sitting.

“We know that exercise is good for us and yet, despite this, our society has become more sedentary than ever,” says Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, associate dean of the Tisch College and a professor in Tufts’ Friedman School, author of the “Strong Women” series of books. “We are built to move, and when our bodies move on a regular basis, they are healthy; when they don’t, when we’re largely sedentary, our bodies deteriorate.”

MEASURING MOVEMENT: In the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Srinivasan Beddhu, MD, of the University of Utah, and colleagues analyzed data from the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In recent surveys, selected participants have supplemented their questionnaire answers by wearing activity monitors called accelerometers; this gives a more accurate record of a person’s movements than depending on individual recall. Most of the participants were generally healthy, although a subgroup of 383 people had chronic kidney disease.

Researchers divided participants into four groups based on minutes per hour of different levels of accelerometer activity: sedentary/sitting, low (such as standing up but not walking around much), light (such as strolling around a room or walking into another room), and moderate/vigorous (jogging or other exercise). The study then compared activity levels to records of deaths three or four years after the assessment.

ADDITIVE ACTIVITY: There was little difference in mortality between the sedentary and low-activity groups. But people who interrupted their sitting with light activity were at significantly lower mortality risk than those who were completely sedentary; this difference was even sharper among the kidney-disease subgroup (41%). As little as two minutes an hour of light activity was enough to be associated with lower risk.

“Boosting activity levels to moderate/vigorous further reduced risk, but the number of such active participants was too low to be statistically significant. Adding additional minutes of light activity, however, did make a significant difference. Getting up from your chair for two minutes or five minutes more light activity rather than sitting time, Dr. Beddhu said, could further reduce risk of premature death.

“
He cautioned that the study was observational, and so can’t prove cause and effect. And Tufts’ Nelson notes that a quick break from your chair is no substitute for regular physical activity. But if you’ve been worried about the health risks of sitting too much, apparently every little bit helps.

For more advice on the benefits of stretching as well as dozens of easy-to-perform moves and stretches, order Stretching for 50+ from Tufts Health & Nutrition!

Tony

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A Physiologic Link Between Heart Disease and A Sedentary Lifestyle

There are some wonderful thoughts here on achieving good health. I hope you will read it and reap.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

I think it might be worth checking out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

Tony

D.I.G.

And A Discussion About Exercises

The concept that being inactive and heart disease are related is a pretty well-accepted idea in our society today. There are many explanations for why this occurs and they all mainly have to do with metabolism, food intake, and energy expenditure.  (This is why you’re supposed to run 10 miles if you eat a strip of bacon, right?)

While these ideas are certainly not wrong, I think there’s an important concept that many of us are missing when we try to lower our heart and vessel disease risk.

What I’m talking about here is the concept of a rising “vascular age” due to inactivity and stiffness of our bodies.

But first, let’s talk about blood flow in the body.

How Blood Normally Flows In The Body

For the sake of discussion, let’s start thinking about blood flow at the level of the heart. The heart is a…

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How Posture Affects Your Spine – Infographic

My mother was always saying, “Stand up straight.” Turns out she was right. Here are some useful facts on posture.

Don’t forget that sitting for prolonged periods is also very unhealthy.

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Tony

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How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy

I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

Because I am 75 years old, there is a certain ‘old man resistance’ to new stuff in me these days. Nonetheless, I have taken to my Apple Watch like a duck to water. Despite my enjoyment, I can not say that I have mastered all its intricacies yet by any means. Like a good relationship, it keeps unfolding in the most delightful ways.

The Activity App is the one of the keys keeping me healthy. I will write some aspects, but, to really learn about it, click the link to go through the guided tour. The link has info on 20 aspects of the Apple Watch. For this post, please scroll down to the Activity one (with the three concentric circles) and Click on  “Watch the Guided Tour.” Apple created the tour and demonstrates actual usage of the App beautifully.

To begin using the app, the Watch screen prompted me to fill in a brief form with sex, age, weight and height. Now my watch knows me.

Next I had to indicate my personal activity level. This is what I estimate my activity calorie expenditure for the day to be. The watch then suggested a goal for me which you can accept or adjust it to a level I prefer.

I can track my activity through the day by tapping the icon or actually put an icon on my Watch face and track it from there.

There are three rings on the Activity app. The Movement one, in red, shows active calories toward my daily goal. BTW, these are calories which I burn as I move throughout the day. It does not include resting calories from lack of movement, like just sitting. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 78 percent of us are not meeting our basic activity requirements.

The Exercise ring, in green, shows how many minutes of exercise I have done toward a goal of 30 minutes per day. This tracks movement, not just health club stuff. Playing with your kids or dancing counts on the Activity app.

Finally, the Stand ring, in blue, shows how many times out of twelve hours that I have stood for at least a minute. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting, please check out my Page – Do you know the Dangers of too much sitting? I have to confess that I am blown away by the fact that the Watch reminds me when I have been sitting too long. Many people are not even aware that prolonged sitting is bad.

The Stand reminder, by the way, is shown on the Watch screen and is accompanied by a little nudge on my wrist called a haptic. The Watch has sensors and other mechanisms on the part that touches your skin. That is where the haptic originates. It feels like someone gently poking your wrist.

In sum, the Activity App alone gives me the feeling that I am being watched over by a gentle and friendly robot that cares about me. Okay, I have a vivid imagination. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being reminded to stand and also viewing my activity through the day as well as at day’s end. I have a better consciousness of my daily activity progress as a result. Every Monday, the Watch notifies me of the previous week’s results and I have the option of tweaking my daily move goal for the coming week.

I called this post How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy, but of course, I am the one keeping me healthy by my commitment to good health. I think if you are a person less committed than I am, the Watch will be even more effective for you because it continually reminds you about your need to move. I would love to hear from readers who are also experiencing owning the Watch.

The next time I will continue this by going into the Workout App which gives me wonderful coverage and assistance on my bike riding. Of course, it also covers walking, running, indoor and out, elliptical, rower and more. So it is excellent for specific exercises compared with the Activity App which is more general movement.

Stay tuned.

Tony

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Too Much Sitting is Harmful to Your Body – Infographic

My little library on sitting too much posts continues to grow. To read further on the dangers of sitting, check out –

9 Ways That Excessive Sitting Can Harm You – Infographic
Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?
How Sitting Too Long Affects Your Body – Infographic
Sitting is the New Smoking
7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic
Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times

Office-Fitness-Tony

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9 Ways That Excessive Sitting Can Harm You – Infographic

I have written about the dangers of prolonged sitting before and I think it is a message that can’t be repeated too often.

Danger-of-Sitting

You can read further details on this by checking out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

I read that the new Apple Watch will have an alert that reminds you that you have been sitting too long. We will know more when the Watch comes out.

Tony

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4 Stretches to do if you Sit at a Desk – Infographic

Regular readers know that I have written about the dangers of prolonged sitting. Check out:

Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times
How Sitting Too Long Affects Your Body – Infographic
Sitting is the New Smoking
7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic
Sitting Is Killing You – Infographic
Exercising More, Sitting Less Reduces Heart Failure Risk in Men
Too Much Sitting can be Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity
The Sitting and Rising Test Gives Clues to How Long You Might Live

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Tony

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Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

I must confess that only a few months ago I was amazed to learn that the simple act of sitting can be damaging to my health. Okay, you have to be sitting for a while, but not all day. This is something you need to know more about. One observer called sitting the new smoking and I actually used that as a header on a blog post. You can decide for yourself whether that is inflammatory or not. When the staid New York Times gets into the discussion, I think it’s time to find out more.

For the record, it's not the chair that's evil, it's your sitting too long in it. Read some of the hints on this page ...

For the record, it’s not the chair that’s evil, it’s your sitting too long in it. Read some of the hints on this page …

Sit Less Live Longer- New York Times
How Sitting Too Long Affects Your Body – Infographic
Sitting is the New Smoking
7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic
Sitting Is Killing You – Infographic
Exercising More, Sitting Less Reduces Heart Failure Risk in Men
Too Much Sitting can be Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity
The Sitting and Rising Test Gives Clues to How Long You Might Live

 

Tony

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11 Ridiculously Simple Tips to Improve Your Health

This is yet another really good list. I have posted on a number of these simple tips. Check out 7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic which I posted earlier this morning. Also, I have a Page on What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

Jumping

Tony

SMART Fitness

Sometimes we make things way too complicated when it comes to our health. Here are 11 Really Simple Things you can do TODAY to improve your health…

  1. STOP drinking soft drinks! This includes diet soft drinks too. Just STOP. You know it’s bad for you. If not, Google it.
  2. Eat more vegetables. Nothing new here, but choose wisely. Pick a green veggie like broccoli, spinach, or kale. Eat as much as you want.
  3. Add good fats to your diet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Sprinkle it on your veggies.
  4. Drink more water. Since you have given up soft drinks, this is the logical replacement. I like lime in mine.
  5. Eat more protein. Red meat is NOT bad for you like we were told several decades ago. Add some to your diet. Add some fish too.
  6. Stop sitting so much. If you sit at a desk…

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