Back in June I read an article by Dr Mike Loosemore; a leading sport medicine consultant from University College of London, where he claimed that being on your feet for three hours, five days a week, is as effective as running ten marathons a year and can extend life by two years. No heavy duty exercise just plain and simple standing up on your feet - Now this is an amazing piece of information I thought. To get to the bottom of the truth and validate this shortcut to longer-healthier-life further scientific proof research was . My fascination for this easy-go-lucky way to enhance lifespan and health recently led me to another study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which clearly suggests that the easiest and best anti-ageing technique could be “standing up”.
Scientists Have Found Proof That Spending More Time On Two Feet Protects DNA
According to this study, too much sitting down shortens telomeres, the protective caps sitting at the end of chromosomes. Short telomeres have been linked to premature ageing, disease and early death. So spending less time on the sofa could potentially help people live longer by preventing their DNA from ageing.
The research from this new study concludes that people who were frequently on their feet had longer telomeres, which were keeping the genetic code safe from wear and tear. Telomeres stop chromosomes from fraying, clumping together and "scrambling" genetic code. Scientists liken their function to the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces, and say that lifespan is linked to their length.
The Nitty Gritty
The idea behind this study was to test and prove the idea behind a study, published in the British Medical Journal previously, which revealed that although people who did more exercise tended to be healthier, the most important factor was how much time they spent sitting down.
Researchers looked at 49 overweight sedentary adults in their late sixties and measured the length of the telomeres in their blood cells.
Half of them had been part of an exercise program that lasted six months, while the other half had not. Physical activity levels were assessed using a diary and pedometer to measure the amount of footsteps taken each day.
The amount of time spent sitting down was worked out through a questionnaire.
Scientists found that the less time a person spent sitting, the longer their telomeres, and the greater their chance of living longer.
Intriguingly research also shows that taking part in more exercise did not seem to have an impact on telomere length.
There is growing concern among medical community that not only low physical activity but probably also sitting and sedentary behavior is an important and new health hazard of our time. The scientific evidence and research has led to the hypothesis that a reduction in sitting hours is of greater importance than an increase in exercise time for elderly risk individuals.
Take Home Message
Guess how many hours a day you spend sitting? - Fewer than eight, more than 10? A recent survey found that many of us spend up to 12 hours a day sitting on our bottoms looking at computers or watching television. If you throw in the seven hours we spend sleeping then that adds up to a remarkable 19 hours a day being sedentary. Apart from this study if you dig deeper into the standing up for a longer life concept, you’d find there is now enormous evidence that supports the logic that simply standing makes huge differences to your health.
Stand UpIt’s time you stood up for yourself - Be proactive make small adjustments - like standing while talking on the phone, going over to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email, or simply taking the stairs.