Working retail, waiting tables, standing in line at the amusement park or just shopping with mom, anyone who’s ever been stuck on their feet for a long time more or less standing still knows that it’s much more tiring than walking the equivalent amount of time. But why?
What’s interesting is there’s no discussion that I’ve encountered about the venous pooling being an issue for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) etc. It’s always been sitting for long periods of time that I’ve ever been warned about. The article also doesn’t mention that the pooling is part of why we sleep the direction we do relative to the ground.
Every few years, the US Surgeon General issues a recommendation for the country, like encouraging Americans to use sunblock or breastfeed their kids. These are usually public health no-brainers, where the science has determined that Americans would absolutely be better off if they all followed this medical advice. Today the Surgeon General said that simply making the US more conducive for walking would improve the health of half of its citizens.
There was a time when the optimal exercise speed was however fast you had to run to get away from a saber-tooth tiger. Even today, in much of the developing world, people exercise through activities such as farming and fetching water that are necessary for survival.
You might assume that the length of your commute is the main thing that affects how pleasant or nightmarish it is. But a number of studies show that the mode of transportation you take is also really important — both in terms of how happy (or unhappy) you are with your commute, and your overall chance of obesity.
I commute by bike to work. It takes me as long to do by bike as it does to commute by car – that’s in the morning, when there’s no traffic. In the evening, I pass lots of cars stuck in traffic. A co-worker who lives in the area told me that the commute by car took them over an hour one day.
…Bidwell and her research group found that if you want to drink that Coke, you better walk to the store and back to buy it. Getting in 12,000 steps each day works to undo all the crappy things sugary drinks to do a human body, such as turning your intestines into marbled fat depositories.
Medical researchers have been steadily building evidence that prolonged sitting is awful for your health. And that’s before getting to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and/or Pulmonary Embolism (PE) sufferers.
Sitting for long periods of time, like many people do daily at their jobs, is associated with risk factors such as higher cholesterol levels and greater waist circumference that can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. When people sit, slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart. Blood can pool in the legs and affect the endothelial function of arteries, or the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow.
…The researchers were able to demonstrate that during a three-hour period, the flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. The study participants who walked for five minutes for each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same — it did not drop throughout the three-hour period. Thosar says it is likely that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow accounts for this.
This also lends credence to why DVTs happen on long distance travel, discounting what I never believed: the air mixture in planes was responsible. Since my original diagnosis, I’ve been told to take breaks and walk when driving or flying long distances (basically over an hour) to prevent future problems…