SITTING DOWN, SHUTTING DOWN: Physiologists analyzing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes found that the act of sitting shuts down the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase. Standing up engages muscles and promotes the distribution of this enzyme, which prompts the body to process fat and cholesterol. They found that this was independent of the amount of time spent exercising and that standing up uses blood glucose, which may discourage the development of diabetes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ARTERIES OF THE DESK-BOUND? Plaque doesn't just grow on your teeth. It can also form inside your arteries -- the blood vessels that carry oxygen and blood to the heart, brain and other parts of the body. Arteries have an inner layer of muscle. When it is damaged, plaque can form, sometimes leading to a bulge in the wall of the artery. The bulges can grow big enough to cause the inner lining to rupture. The body responds by sending clotting fibers to the damaged site. Minerals, especially calcium, can become trapped in the net of fibers, and so can fats like cholesterol. The minerals and fats build up over time, causing the arteries to narrow. Blood can't flow so easily through the restricted arteries. The arteries can also become clogged, stopping blood flow completely.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.