Researchers have long discovered that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health, and the best anti-aging recipe is to stay on your feet as often as possible. Back pain, muscle degeneration, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and even premature death are the various risks due to too much sedentary living. To the point that some researchers suggest that we work standing to reduce risk.
But other researchers, even more curious no doubt, have sought to find out why standing has beneficial effects on our health. They discovered that when you spend a lot of time sitting, the telomeres (the part located at the end of the chromosomes and which plays a protective role) shorten. When they are too short, this causes premature aging, even illnesses and premature death: they fray, clump together and “scramble” the genetic code of the chromosomes. While long telomeres protect DNA from aging by keeping the genetic code safe from wear and tear.
On the other hand, curiously enough, exercising does not seem to have an impact on telomere length if we continue to spend a lot of time sitting. Professor Mai-Lis Hellenius, from the Stockholm University Hospital, thus recommends “to strive to spend less time sitting rather than to force yourself to find the time to do physical exercise. ‘strive to stay up as often as possible during the day, then it will have a real positive effect on our health as we age’.
The doctor compares the function of telomeres to that of the plastic caps that protect the ends of shoelaces and extend their lifespan.