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A new way to control weight?

June 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
When kids hit the playground or play sports, lots of parents take that time to take a load off and sit down. But if you want to lose weight you should be thinking exactly the opposite. That's because all that chair time is not so good.Do you spend a lot of time in a chair watching TV or sitting at your desk?

"Chair time is an insidious hazard because people haven't been told it's a hazard," said Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The time you sit in your chair could be keeping your body's fat burning in park.

More than 47 million adults in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome, which causes obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Biomedical researchers from the University of Missouri say the reason so many of us have the condition is because we sit too much.

"The existing data, by numerous studies, are starting to show that the rates of heart disease and diabetes and obesity are doubled or sometimes even tripled in people who sit a lot," said Dr. Hamilton.

One reason, he says, is an enzyme called lipase. When it's on, fat is absorbed into the muscles, but when we sit down, lipase virtually shuts off.

"Instead, the fat will recirculate in the blood stream and go and be stored as body fat or it can clog arteries and cause diseases," said Dr. Hamilton.

And it's not a small amount of fat. Plasma samples were taken from the same person after eating the same meal. A plasma sample taken while the individual was sitting down turned out cloudy. The second plasma vial was clear, this sample was taken while the individual was standing up.

"If you can perform a behavior while sitting or standing, I would choose standing," said Dr. Hamilton.

That's why Dr. Hamilton swapped his desk chair for a treadmill. If that's too extreme?

"You can have just as much fun watching your kids play if you're standing by the fence, next to a friend who pulls out that aluminum lawn chair and is sitting there," said Dr. Hamilton.

You can also limit chair time by taking frequent breaks at work stand and walk around.

Stand while talking on the phone or even while watching TV. Standing also helps shrink your waistline. The average person can burn an extra 60 calories an hour just by standing.

"But just avoid the chair is the simple recommendation, as much as you can," said Dr. Hamilton.

Another benefit to standing -- it improves your HDL or good cholesterol levels. People who sat reduced their good cholesterol levels by 22 percent.

 

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