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Prolonged sitting leads to glucose and insulin spikes April 25, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

One of my colleagues (and friends) shared an article from Runner’s World that talks about the dangers associated with prolonged sitting on the ATA Business Practices listserv. In the last few years evidence has emerged suggesting that prolonged sitting, which is what we translators do for hours on end, is very bad for your health. We all know it can’t be good for you, but this presents very clear evidence of a correlation between prolonged sitting and glucose and insulin spikes. As the article explains, “No matter how much or how hard you exercise, if you spend the rest of the day motionless at a desk or on the couch, metabolic changes take place in your muscles that increase your risk of nasty outcomes like heart disease and death.” At the very least we should all get up every twenty minutes and take a quick 2-3 minute walk around the house or outside.

One of our best business practices, for overall good health as well as weight control and alertness, may be getting up off of our comfortable desk chair – or, as Corinne suggests, using a treadmill desk. I have been diagnosed with insulin resistance, so it seems I’d best seriously start looking into a treadmill desk. The heck with the cat – she can find somewhere else to sleep!



1. patenttranslator - April 25, 2012

One other option: get a dog that needs to be walked at least 15 minutes at least three times a day, rain or shine.

Jill (@bonnjill) - April 25, 2012

I do have a dog. Still isn’t enough to counteract sitting for hours in front of the computer.

patenttranslator - April 25, 2012

Nothing is.

We are all sitting on death row.

2. Andie - April 25, 2012

Thanks for this reminder, Jill. I saw a reflexologist in Hong Kong in January who said she could tell that I sit too much. I just signed on with a personal trainer. This article is great motivation for me to stay active!

3. Laura - April 26, 2012

You could also look into a standing desk. I know a treadmill wouldn’t fit in my tiny office, and I can’t really imagine trying to think and keep walking on a treadmill.

4. mfdanis - April 26, 2012

There was an article about <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html?_r=1"this in the NYTimes a while back that brought this issue to my attention. It was surprising to know that regular exercise isn’t enough.
The research does note that standing is already an improvement, so if the treadmill desk sound too unwieldy, you can always just have a standing desk.
After I read that article, I make an effort to just stand more often. When I take a break to read a magazine or book, I stand. When I’m having a conversation, I stand. If I’m eating by myself, I’ll sometimes stand.

5. NaDene - April 26, 2012

Great information. Thanks.

A friend told me that his sister uses an exercise ball as a desk chair. Of course you are still sitting, but it does require that you use certain muscles to retain your balance. It also forces good posture and prevents one from slouching. Probably not as good as standing, but maybe a good idea.

6. Sarai - May 19, 2012

I’ve got free weights, which are great because you can just pick them up and walk around with them. On the other hand, getting up breaks concentration, so it is understandable that it is difficult.

7. Kate - June 1, 2012

Seeing as we spend all day sitting, it is also worthwhile to make sure that our diet is not creating glucose & insulin spikes. Fresh, green vegetables and whole grains are good choices.

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