Brain Bulletin #71 - Stand Up for Your Brain

in Brain Bulletin

If you do to much sitting then your brain will suffer.

It turns out that scientists and medical experts believe that sitting is not great for your body, and your brain.

So many of us sit for long stretches at work and at school. We sit on the commute. And when we get home we sit some more. Prolonged sitting is bad for your health.

It's not alarmist to say that all this sitting may be killing us. Research show that long bouts of sitting causes serious physiological responses related to chronic disease, and a shortened life span. The University of Queensland found that people who stood up frequently had lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for blood fat). They also had smaller waistlines. It was the frequency of standing not the duration that counted.

One study found that a woman's risk of developing metabolic syndrome increased 26% for every extra hour of sitting. Prolonged sitting in an upright position can strain your back resulting in chronic pain. Blood clots are another risk of being inactive. None of this is good for your brain.

Periods of standing throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone, and vitality. Standing up benefits the lean and overweight alike. Standing up frequently keeps blood flowing freely to your head.

I've been telling people in my live presentations for years that standing up is important for brain health. It is also important for for your heart. Remember....what's good for your heart is good for your brain.

It seems that when you sit down your body pretty much stops working. You and your brain were meant to move. Consider:

  • Taking more short breaks to stand up and stretch (or to walk). Maybe set a timer.
  • Have your meetings standing up (you will save lots of time on this one).
  • Stand up when talking on the telephone (studies show you will be perceived as having a better attitude).
  • Consider a standing desk (or just raise your old one).
  • Set you office up so things aren't within arm's reach.
  • Read standing up (I do a lot of this). Plus, you will remember more.

Standing for just 2 hours during an average workday can burn an extra 280 calories. In a year, that might provide a weight loss of 20 pounds. Standing while you work improves concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. Many who stand state that their thinking is clearer and they have an increased ability to pay attention and focus.

I think the key here is to be mindful and make standing up a habit. It just becomes what you do.

Congratulations on learning something about your brain today. The Brain Bulletin is committed to help to do just that. If you missed any Brain Bulletins you can find them in the Brain Bulletin Archive: Brain Bulletin Archive

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Twitter is a great way to learn and fuel your brain. I just posted a great 2 min. video: The Smoke Filled Room Study. A great example of "The Bystander Effect" and your brain.

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I really enjoyed my month. I presented 16 times including 4 times in Switzerland. I think the highlight was speaking to 1000 teens at Heritage Park School. What a great group of geniuses. I also got to present 5 keynote addresses to the David Suzuki Foundation, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation, The Ministry of Labour, and The Dept. of National Defense.

Best of of all, 2 days ago my Irish passport arrived. I am now a citizen of 2 great countries - Canada and Ireland.

Lots of interesting challenges for my brain in April. I am off to Toronto to keynote and close the Ontario Board of Funeral Services Conference and then on to Halifax to speak at MDA Corp. From there to Las Vegas to keynote The Hitachi World Sales Kickoff. Then home for 12 presentations in Vancouver. It's a good thing I love doing this!

My favorite book this month: "The Other Brain" by R. Douglas Fields. The Scientific and Medical Breakthroughs That Will Heal Our Brains and Revolutionize Our Health. Loved it! Very practical.