is your chair killing you

How many hours would you guess that you sit on your backside?

Studies have been done showing that the average person, living in a Western country, spends about 12 hours of their waking time sat down. A lot of this time is made up of being sat down at work and then sat down at home in front of the TV.

Add to this about 8 hours in bed it makes you wonder what we actually do?

Another slightly shocking fact is that the average waistline of a woman in the 50s was 28″. Now it has inflated 6″ to 34″, and I suspect this has increased since these figures were published.

It’s highly likely that our increasingly sedentary lives have something to do with this.

What Happens With Prolonged Sitting

When your body is sat down a lot it isn’t burning a lot of calories. One reason is that your fat burning enzymes, called lipase, are pretty much switched off.

In addition to that, if you’re sat down for a long period after a meal you won’t be burning off the calories consumed. In particular the glucose from carbohydrates won’t be being burned off, so instead they are converted to fat.

So, you have your fat burning enzymes switched off and your fat forming enzymes switched off.

How Things Have Changed

In the 50s women didn’t tend to go jogging or to gyms, but they did expend about 1,000 calories/day on household chores. Today we don’t do that, with all the labour saving devices we have (and no, I’m not giving any of them back either).

Over recent decades an average person’s calorie expenditure has gone down due to cars and labour saving devices. Even people doing planned exercise 3 times/week will be hard pressed to match what a woman in the 50s achieved.

In addition to expanding waistlines and excess weight, our predominantly sedentary lifestyle is strongly linked to the things that are killing us off early, like high blood pressure, heart attack, strokes, dementia and cancer.

If you know you are sedentary what could you start doing to be more active – please write below in the comments. Next week I’ll write about how we can all be more active (without going to the gym)

Have an Uber Healthy week

Dr Julie

PS Congratulations to Janet for winning April’s free place on Uber Slim, my online weight loss program.

If you would like a chance to win the one on offer in May make sure you’re signed up to the newsletter, so you know the one easy question to answer.