OK, my headline my be overstating my case, but I got your attention.
People who sit all day and watch TV all night — even ones who run 35 miles a week — have a higher risk of heart disease than people who move around all day. Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan told the radio program “Here & Now” that sitting for more than four hours a day gives you the same risk of a heart attack as smoking. (Click here for the story.)
Today’s news comes on the heels of yesterday’s “Fresh Air” interview with author and fitness expert Gretchen Reynolds who said just standing for 2 minutes every 20 minutes can improve your health.
“Sitting for long periods of time — when you don’t stand up, don’t move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles,” Reynolds told “Fresh Air’s” Terry Gross. “You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat … in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you’re moving. … If you can stand up every 20 minutes — even if you do nothing else — you change how your body responds physiologically.” (Click here for the full story.)
Which leads to me to this unscientific, self-serving conclusion: Two-story houses — with lots of steps — have healthier occupants than residents of ramblers.
I prefer the appearance of two-story houses, and all the houses I’ve owned have had two stories. (Heck, I think three- or four-story houses are impressive — I just could never afford one of those.)
But presentation aside, two-story houses win on function, too. To my way of thinking, single-story ramblers are a sign of resignation to being lazy or getting old. I’m going into old age kicking and screaming, and all that kicking and screaming turns out to be very good for my health.
With my Beloved now working from his home office in the basement and me working in a bedroom on the second floor (alternatively known on some of our address labels as Suite 4 and Suite 2), I take the steps many times a day. Sometimes, I take the steps just to take a break. Usually the break involves a snack (sometimes a lower-calorie hug), but still, I’m moving. Our little 8-pound schnauzer is in good shape, too, what with all the to-ing and fro-ing.
I’m not ready for a stand-up desk or a treadmill desk, but the news that even a little movement is better than none is compelling. Compelling me to stand up and take a walk.
What are you looking at? Get moving!