Can You Stand It?

"Standing is stupid/Crawling's a curse/Skipping is silly/Walking is worse," Shel Silverstein wrote in the illustrated children's book "A Light in the Attic." He was funny, for sure, but wrong, oh so wrong. It turns out it's too much sitting that'll do you in before your time. By not moving your muscles, you lower the production of good-for-you HDL cholesterol, elevate blood levels of triglycerides and glucose, and make it harder to recover if you get sick.

Luckily there are solutions that don't require you to do a Forrest Gump across America! Our favorite: Use a stand-up desk. It's a great way to activate your muscles and your brain while you're at work or school. (Dr. Mike takes it to another level with his treadmill desk!) And you can have a tall stool nearby for occasional sit-downs. Researchers are calling that combo a "stand-up-biased" desk and say you burn 15 percent more calories using them. When they're used in classrooms, teachers report that kids pay more attention and are more engaged than when they're sitting down. No reason to think that isn't true at work, too!

Another great move: If you can't get a standing desk in your classroom or at work, set your smartphone alarm to get you moving once an hour: Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine found that trading two minutes of sitting for two minutes of light-intensity activity each hour lowered the risk of premature death by 33 percent. You certainly can stand for that!

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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