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TODAY’S HEALTH TIP

Prolonged Standing Can Distress Body – Dr. Robert Ashley – 4-20-18

DEAR DOCTOR: I always thought standing desks were good for you. Now I read they might not be. Can it really be better to sit all day long?

DEAR READER:

The primary concern lies in the connection between prolonged sitting and obesity and the corresponding connection between obesity and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, although sedentary lifestyle is itself a risk factor. Additionally, sitting may place greater pressure upon the lower back than standing, which can lead to chronic back problems, and staring at a computer screen can cause greater neck and shoulder discomfort.

Some people thought the answer to these problems was a standing desk, but a recent study was a disappointment. The authors found that, although actual muscle fatigue did not change for the muscles of the lower back and the hips, participants’ reported discomfort rose consistently for every body part, especially the lower back, hips, thighs, buttocks, knees and ankles. Further, curvature of the lower spine decreased over the two-hour period, thus putting more pressure on the lower back. Also, the lower legs swelled slightly with prolonged standing, and alertness and concentration declined slightly.

However, the study didn’t compare these results to measurements of the same people sitting, so it really wasn’t comparing the effects of sitting in a chair against those of using a standing desk. All it showed, in effect, was that detriments can accrue with prolonged standing.

What may be best is a workstation that gives you the option of sitting or standing. A recent analysis combined data from 12 studies assessing the benefits of sit/stand desks. Compared to people who didn’t use sit/ stand workstations, those who did showed significant reduction in lower back pain. Notably, those studies that allowed people to choose when they wanted to sit and stand showed a greater decrease in lower back pain than did studies that specified a certain amount of time for sitting and standing. With either, you can minimize strain by taking breaks to move around and stretch.


ALWAYS HUNGRY? HERE’S WHY!

– By Karen D’souza, The Mercury News – 4-9-18

Summer is coming, and you’re thinking about trying on swimsuits and launching a new healthy living kick. Pronto. Especially the diet part.

If you are trying to get fit fast, you are likely moving more and eating less — and grappling with the nagging feeling that you can’t seem to stop feeling hungry. Am I right?

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Here are four reasons you’re always hungry and what to do to tame your rumbling tummy.

› You forgot the protein. If you are looking to slim down, you may be cutting out too much protein at meals, sabotaging your feelings of fullness. As The Washington Post points out, protein contributes greatly to the feeling of being satisfied. Indulge in some protein at every meal, and you will stay full longer. We’re not just talking steak, either. Dig into eggs, yogurt, tofu, beans as well as animal proteins.

› You didn’t get enough sleep. When you are exhausted, you tend to eat more to keep your energy up. In one University of Chicago study, sleep-deprived people ate more than 50 percent more calories than when they had a good night’s rest. Those who got enough shuteye lost this urge to eat, researchers found, according to the Daily Mail. So make snooze time a priority to shut off those late afternoon cravings.

› Your gut got confused. You know how people say you should go with your gut? Well, the problem is that if the microbes in your gut aren’t diverse enough, then they may be sending the wrong signals to your brain. As The Washington Post notes, about 20 minutes after a meal, certain bacteria in your gut should send signals that you’ve had enough to eat by stimulating the release of a hormone linked to feelings of satiety. But if you don’t have a very diverse mix of gut bacteria, you may not get that signal. Oops. Experts suggest supping on a diet rich in fiber and probiotics to get back on track.

› You’re dehydrated. Sometimes you are really thirsty but you mistake that feeling for hunger. The confusion happens in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates appetite and thirst, according to Health. When dehydration sets in, the wires get crossed in the hypothalamus, and you start munching when what you really need is a tall, cool glass of water. Experts recommend that you drink more, starting when you first wake up so you get the hydration you need.

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