Get up, stand up.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT - with Dr Cody Han­ish

The sim­ple act of sit­ting for long stretches of time had the largest im­pact on their health.

A 2006 study from the Univer­sity Of Min­nesota (my home state) found that from 1980 to 2000, the per­cent­age of peo­ple who re­ported ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly had no sta­tis­ti­cal change, but the time spent sit­ting on a daily ba­sis rose by eight per cent. I don’t have the data to con­clude what has taken place since then, but I am go­ing to take a stab in the dark and say that, at min­i­mum, these val­ues have stayed con­sis­tent.

A Dutch study re-cre­ated the life­style of a hu­man be­ing some 160 years ago. They set up a his­toric theme park and hired ac­tors to live for one week as an 1850s Aus­tralian set­tler. These men did ev­ery­thing from chop­ping wood to gath­er­ing food and their ac­tiv­ity lev­els were then com­pared to mod­ern of­fice work­ers. It turned out the ac­tors walked nearly eight miles [13 km] fur­ther per day than their deskbound mod­ern coun­ter­parts.

All of this should be very alarm­ing. Sit­ting isn’t just bad for tr ying to main­tain a perky butt. Sit­ting, or com­plete in­ac­tiv­ity, is detri­men­tal to over­all health and longevity. Back in the day of ris­ing hem­lines and the start of the hip­pie rev­o­lu­tion, Amer­i­cans had a di­a­betes rate of less than one per cent and obe­sity was at 13 per cent. Now, con­fined to chairs and glued to com­puter screens, six per cent have di­a­betes and a whop­ping 35 per cent are obese.

The key is to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween reg­u­larly ex­er­cis­ing and be­ing ac­tive. A per­son who goes to the gym ev­ery day for an hour but sits at a desk the rest of the day is lead­ing a rel­a­tively in­ac­tive life­style. The goal is to achieve both: reg­u­lar ex­er­cise that in­creases car­dio­vas­cu­lar out­put, as well as main­tain­ing an ac­tive life­style through­out the day.

The Min­nesota study found peo­ple who sit all day are 54 per cent more likely to have a heart at­tack than some­one who is more ac­tive. What was even more as­ton­ish­ing was that, af­ter ob­serv­ing more than 17,000 men and women, their weight and how of­ten they ex­er­cised had no im­pact on the 54 per cent who are more at risk. The sim­ple act of sit­ting for long stretches of time had the largest im­pact on their health.

The more ac­tive you are through­out the en­tire day is the best pre­ven­ta­tive medicine, so take a mo­ment, stand up, and in­crease your ac­tiv­ity lev­els. The ev­i­dence is clear that ma­jor health is­sues can be avoided – if you don’t take them sit­ting down.

more: Dr Cody Han­ish holds the in­ter­na­tion­ally-ac­cred­ited ti­tle of Cer­ti­fied Chi­ro­prac­tic Well­ness Life­style Prac­ti­tioner. Find Dr Cody at Thrive Health, 185 Vic­to­ria Street, Potts Point, Syd­ney. Tel (02) 9331 8661 or 0430 340 038 or thrivechir­o.com.au. Or go to dr­cody.com.

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