Don’t Just Sit There!

In Fitness and Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Articles by Jeff Gilliam, PT, PhD, OCS1 Comment

Don’t Just Sit There!

Since the original 1956 research of the London transport system investigating the difference in cardiac episodes between bus drivers and the conductors on the buses, we have witnessed the importance of activity and the detriment of sedentary behavior. In this study the conductors of the 2-level buses had fewer cardiac episodes and fared better after having a cardiac episode than the more sedentary bus driver.  The conductors collected monies walking back and forth and climbed the 2-level bus throughout the day while the drivers just sat.

More recently the sedentary behavior of our society as proved to be hazardous.  A 2015 article in Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise.  This study highlighted the reality that it is not good enough to exercise for 30-45 minutes each day and then be sedentary for the remaining 23 plus hours a day.  A similar study out of The Journal of American Heart Association found a 13 percent higher risk of death for each additional 2 hours per day of television-watching time.

Many of our high technological jobs require sitting at a computer, however there has been a surge to find improved alternatives including standing desks and desks attached to treadmills. Whatever your patient’s situation encourage them to stand and take short walks frequently during the day to avoid the deleterious effects of sitting. A 2014 article in Medicine Science Sports and Exercise demonstrated that a 5 minute walk every hour of sitting helps reverse the adverse effects of sitting. Another study showed walking 2 minutes every half hour could be more effective at reducing diabetes risk than taking one brisk 30 minute walk a day. I encourage my patients to get up every 25-30 minutes for a short walk…plan to do the same for your patient.

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Jeff Gilliam PT PhD, OCS: is a weight loss specialist, who has studied extensively in the areas of health behavior, exercise physiology and nutritional biochemistry at the University of Florida. Jeff has taught a course at the University of Florida called ’Research Applications to Obesity and Weight Loss’. He has also taught courses for the DPT program at UF in Health Promotion and Wellness’ and ‘Evidence Based Practice III’. He has presented on a national level on topics related to diseases related to obesity and changing behavior to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. His PhD research was in the area of effective behavioral interventions for obesity and its associated diseases. He is founder of Physicians’ Choice for Weight Loss, a successful lifestyle/weight loss program, which can be found in over 50 clinics in the eastern US. He currently is clinical director of ReQuest Physical Therapy (Gainesville, Florida) and incorporates his lifestyle/weight loss program into his patients’ physical therapy to help them achieve their healthiest body weight. Jeff Gilliam is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties


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