Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just standing up makes a difference, scientifically

This will be quick because I learned today, courtesy of a friend who has been reading the scientific literature on exercise and metabolic outcomes, that just standing up makes a difference in all of the health outcomes we are interested in.

There are a number of endocrine specialists, one of whom is James A. Levine at the Mayo Clinic, who have been studying NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. What they find is that, independent of the total amount of sedentary time, and independent of the amount of moderate-level exercise, the amount of time spent simply standing up, and the number of breaks from sitting to, for example, stand or take a step, predicts a host of important health indicators, including waist circumference and medical pre-cursors of diabetes. In fact, Levine asserts that NEAT matters more for obesity and metabolic health outcomes than organized vigorous exercise. No kidding. Check it out.

So this presents some really easy intervention opportunities, which Levine discusses on his website.

As for me, I will definitely not be retrieving any of my children's belongings from around the house for them anymore.

Cool. That feels like a little bit of magic. I'll be looking out for other ways to incorporate this knowledge into into our lifestyle.

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