Health Effects of Motion

Did you ever stop to consider that, although you may be healthy and exercise regularly, certain daily behaviors can put your health at risk? A recent report in Consumer Reports Health (September 2008) discusses that being too sedentary can put you at risk for certain health problems, even if you exercise regularly.

Marc Hamilton, Ph.D. of the University of Missouri at Columbia performed research into the health hazards of lack of motion says "The sitting we do in normal, everyday life is a health hazard, just like exposure to second-hand smoke or too much sunlight," according to Hamilton.

According to Hamilton, when we stand, some muscles in our legs release an enzyme that helps remove fat from the blood. However, the report states that when we sit, this production reduces by 90% which means that the fat will stay in the blood longer.

The report also talks about how those who get the recommended amount of exercise but work sitting down face greater health risks. For example, the study reports that for those who exercised 2.5 hours per week, but still watched numerous hours of television, it was common to experience large waist circumference, high blood-sugar levels, and elevated blood pressure.

The report recommends changing your daily routine in small ways.

Doing chores manually vs. electric or gas-powered machines, parking farther away from work or store entrances, stand in waiting rooms instead of sitting, walk on the treadmill or stair climber while talking on the phone with friends, or standing at your desk at work. Even using the Nintendo Wii Fit is suggested (in place of a video game where you are constantly seated)!

Going dancing can also be fun but also good for your health.

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