At HumbleWorks, we are passionately committed to helping our clients transform their lives by spending less time sitting at work. In our new weekly podcast series ‘Get Up’, our guests India Pearson and world-renowned health expert Dr Levine explore the ways in which we can escape the modern sedentary lifestyle and break free from the damage it causes to our bodies and minds.
If you are new to HumbleWorks or have missed the latest episodes of ‘Get Up’, then read on to discover what we’ve been chatting about so far. Alternatively, feel free to tune in here to listen for yourself.
‘Get Up’: What’s been happening?
Episode 3: ‘Our potential’
‘The human body has the physiological capability of moving hours a day more than we are used to’ – Dr Levine
In episode 3, we chat about the human body’s enormous potential for movement. If we take three kinds of workers: office workers battling obesity, lean office workers and agricultural workers, we discover that there is a 2000 calorie variability among these people. In other words, one person can burn 2000 more calories doing regular daily activity than someone living a highly sedentary lifestyle.
This is revolutionary in the field of obesity. By simply activating your NEAT by getting out of your chair more often, you can spend an additional 2 ¼ hours out of your seat, moving around and burning excess body fat while working the exact same job.
Our bodies are capable of moving an enormous amount more than we are used to. But the problem is, we don’t meet our potential. We limit ourselves. Between the digital revolution and our culture’s obsession with convenience, society has taken our bodies’ natural impulse to move and suppressed it. As a result, a highly sedentary lifestyle has become the new normal, and the implications for our bodies and minds are devastating.
Episode 4: ‘The Chair Curse’
‘Excess sitting hurts and harms so many parts of our bodies’ – Dr Levine
How can something as simple and monotonous as sitting lead to life-threatening diseases and even premature death?
To answer this question, the Mayo Clinic carried out an experiment whereby a group of office-based workers had their blood glucose tracked throughout the day. It was found that for each volunteer, their blood sugar levels spiked dramatically after every meal before dropping to a normal level. The experiment was then repeated with the exact same people and exact same meals but with one difference: after each meal, instead of sitting down to work or watch TV, the volunteers took a 15-minute stroll. The results were fascinating: post-meal spikes in blood sugars were much less dramatic and glucose levels remained steady throughout the day.
From these results, Dr Levine and the Mayo Clinic were able to confirm that excessive sitting leads to enormous excursions in blood glucose, which has strong links to Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease. It was concluded that movement, any movement at all, dramatically decreases our risk of developing chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
As well as safeguarding us from serious health risks, movement also has huge implications for our mental health. As excess sitting is strongly associated with low mood and depression, getting out of our chairs and walking will help empower and energise us, battling that feeling of malaise and enhancing our mood.
So why not give it a go? For the next 21 days, try carrying out this experiment yourself by going on a 15-minute walk after each meal. Before long, you’ll begin to notice the differences to your body and mind.