(Sorry about Teaching Tuesday. I have articles to read and a plan, but I was at the in-laws for Easter through Monday and while Music Monday was easy to write, TT needs more attention. Thank you for your continued patronage through my inconsistent blogging.)

As long as this blog has been in existence I have been emphasizing “eat less, move more” as the basic, no frills guide to weight loss. How you choose to accomplish those two things is up to you, but that is the basic jist. That is, it had been until I read Patti Neighmond’s (NPR) article on sitting all day and how it affects us. This article came out on Monday and presented new research which states that even if you engage in regular, daily exercise it might not be enough to battle the effects of sitting the rest of the day. In an interview with epidemiologist Steven Blair from USC (South Carolina, not Southern California) he states that even if you do 30 minutes of walking every day (which is what federal health experts recommend), the 8 hours of sleep you get plus that half hour of activity leaves 15.5 hours in the day which you spend doing what? If you are like me (and apparently millions of Americans) you spend it on your ass either working or watching tv.

Basically results of this recent study state that exercise may not matter if you spend your work and leisure time sitting on your butt. For example, the study showed that men who exercised regularly but spent more than 23 hours a week not moving/sitting were more at risk of dying than men who exercised the same but saw only 11 hours or less a week sitting. The secret lies in the larger muscles, which have to be engaged and working to assist with the speed of metabolism. Additionally participants who sat more had worse levels of cholesterol and were at greater risk for diseases such as diabetes even though they exercised regularly.

This article blew my mind and completely changed how I view my day. How much time do I spend sitting? My job is such that I have the benefit of standing for much of what I do. This engages the large muscles in my legs which helps with all of the aforementioned issues. Not all people have this advantage and so they are subjected to the humiliating “cubicle exercises” that are often shown at office health seminars and lauded in articles such as this one. Stand and do a little jig! Sit on an exercise ball! Lift small weights as you talk on the phone! Ugh, seriously. Neighmond is right when she says that it is indisputable that it is a good idea, the problem lies in getting people to actually do these things.

Take a day this week and try to keep track of how much time you spend on your tuckus. What could you be doing during that time instead? Is that a time of rest and therefore okay? Could you be taking a walk or cleaning a room in your house or exercising? Could you take time to go to the mall and walk around in the stores even if you don’t want to buy anything? If your butt in in contact with a surface, keep track. See how many hours you rack up in a day. Then see where you stand in relation to this new research. I know I’ll be paying much closer attention to my behavior. I don’t want to die early because I exercised to be lazy.