Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Summertime presents as a fantastic opportunity to become more active throughout the day. Everyday, I am sent the latest nutrition and exercise news, and over the past few months, I have been bombarded by studies suggesting that sitting is terrible for your health. I have clients that (understandably so), think that they are active enough because they do a 1 hour spin or cardio class each day. While this is commendable, and much more exercise than most Americans do, it is not enough. In order to lose weight, keep weight off, and prevent disease you must be moving AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE throughout the day!

One hour of cardio does not make up for the other 23 hours of other inactivity during the day. A study released by the British Medical Journal in July pooled data from 5 studies with 167,000 adults and evaluated sitting, TV watching, disease, and mortality risk. By reducing sitting time to <3 hours per day, you can raise your life expectancy by 2 years, and cutting sitting down to <2 hours/day can increase your life by another 1.4 years. The average American sits and watches TV for 5 hours a day, which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes (↑ 20%), heart disease (↑ 15%) and premature death (↑ 13%). By eating and not using your muscles, the sugar is not cleared from the bloodstream, and eventually builds up and destroys cell membranes- therefore increasing your risk of death and disease. Keeping sugar in the bloodstream also keeps insulin levels high, which can put you at risk for diabetes, and also, increased fat storage.

My recommendation: Move as much as you can throughout the day! Try to stand up and move around (at least) every 20 minutes. Walk before you eat and definitely get moving after you eat so the muscles can suck up all that extra sugar in your bloodstream. When you exercise, do so intensely to get the most benefit out of our workout (i.e.: not just a walk or steady-state on the elliptical- add intervals!). Also, don’t let your kids sit and watch TV for long periods of time. Another study published in July linked TV watching when children are 2-4 years old to larger waists and weaker leg strength just by the time they are in 3rd and 4th grades. Early sedentary behaviors and TV watching can set your child up for diabetes and obesity in the not-to-far-off future. If your family wants to watch TV, try to be active while doing so. Have a stationary bike or a mini-trampoline available so that you can move and watch at the same time!


Katzmarzyk PT, I-Min L. Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis. BMJ Open. Published online June 9 2012.

AMA. 2011 Jun 15;305(23):2448-55.“Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis.” Grøntved A, Hu FB. Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Department of Exercise Epidemiology, Center of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, 9:87 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-87
Published: 16 July 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

What To Order During Hoagiefest at Wawa

Read my latest interview and tips for eating healthy at Wawa during Hoagiefest with Be Well Philly!