Improve your health by swapping out sitting

Today’s post comes from Drs Annemarie Koster and Julianne van der Berg.  For more information on their work, please see the bottom of this post. Doing desk work, watching TV, commute. In daily life sitting is the most common behaviour. Unfortunately, sitting has been indicated as the new smoking, meaning that the current sedentary lifestyle has a highly negative impact on health. For example, we previously showed that more time spend in a sedentary position was…

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Which activity types are healthy alternatives to replace leisure screen time and reduce mortality risk?

Today’s post comes from Dr Katrien Wijndaele, University of Cambridge, UK. More information on Dr Wijndaele can be found at the bottom of this post. Excessive leisure screen time, including TV viewing, is highly prevalent in a large proportion of adults on a daily basis, without signs of decline (3, 6). It is also the type of sedentary behaviour most strongly and consistently associated with the development of chronic disease and premature mortality (4, 8). Reducing…

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Physical activity and sperm count: what’s the connection?

Yesterday I discussed recent research that suggests sperm counts of adult men of Western countries have dropped by over 50% during the past 40 years (yearly 1.4% decline). At least part of this trend may be explained by increasing adiposity of the average Western man. Indeed, as also discussed yesterday, there seems to be a J-shaped association between body mass index (BMI) and abnormal sperm count, such that by comparison to normal weight men, overweight,…

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Is obesity to blame for men’s falling sperm counts?

A recent study that made international headlines suggested that sperm counts of adult men of Western countries have dropped by over 50% during the past 40 years. The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update looked at data on approximately 43,000 men who participated in 185 studies between 1973 and 2011. Although we often hear a growing concern about the over-population of the planet, and the potential for humanity to outstrip the earth’s resources,…

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Do professors get the summer off?

Do professors get the summer off? I get that question a lot.  Like pretty much everyday between May and August.  The short answer is no, but I thought I’d post a brief explainer. I work at a primarily undergraduate Canadian university (e.g. we have lots of students doing Bachelor’s degrees, but fewer MSc/MA and PhD students).  At Canadian institutions large and small, full-time professors usually work 12 months/year (the situation is different for instructors and sessional…

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Forks Vs Feet, Part 2

Several years ago we hosted an event in Ottawa titled “Forks vs Feet“, where Dr Yoni Freedhoff and Dr Bob Ross debated the relative merits of diet and exercise for obesity management.  Last month the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Obesity Network brought Yoni and Bob back together for an updated debate at Mount Sinai hospital.  The video of the event has now been published, and is available below.  If, like me, you were unable…

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Are chopsticks the secret behind Japan’s low obesity rates?

As my wife and I finish up the first week of our trip through Japan, one thing is relatively clear; few Japanese have a weight problem. In fact, most recent estimates suggest just 3.6% of the population has a body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg/m2. During each of the meals we’ve had since arriving – first in Tokyo and now in Kyoto – we’ve had to rely on the use of chopsticks rather than…

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Does sitting on an exercise ball make you leaner, more productive, and free from back pain?

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’re well aware of the negative health effects of sedentary activity, such as sitting, for extended periods of time. That is, regardless of the amount of exercise you get, the more time you spend sitting (an inevitable consequence of office work for many of us) the higher your risk of disease. Thus, we should be trying our best to limit the amount of time we…

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My 20-minute workout plan

I don’t love lifting weights.  But I am currently doing my best to lift weights on a regular basis, because strength is really important for both health and quality of life.  We naturally lose muscle mass as we age, and since I don’t have a ton to begin with, this seems like a pretty important thing for me to do. Like a lot of people, I don’t have much time for lifting weights.  And yet, I’ve…

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How do you define sedentary behaviour?

In the past 20 years, the amount of research published using the term sedentary behaviour has grown exponentially. In 1997, there were 61 papers published on Pubmed using the term sedentary behaviour. Last year there were 1,021. There were 474 in just the first 5 months of 2017.   Figure 1. Number of research papers published on Pubmed using the term “sedentary behaviour” between 1997 and 2017. As with any new field, this has led…

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