Sitting is Bad For Your Heart, Hips, and Back Health


Sitting is Bad For Your Heart, Hips, and Back Health

People are still doing research on how many hours of sitting is bad for you. It’s not how many hours sitting is bad for you, it’s how often you interrupt that sitting that is good for you. Intermittent standing is so key, I say stand up several times an hour. When you think of walking you think of X steps, and you think of burning calories, but but do you think of standing up as exercise? Not really. Do you think of raising your arm as exercise? No, but yet something’s happening when you raise your arms and keep them there because if you didn’t it would be hanging down beside you or use your muscle legs.

Do you think of standing up as exercise?

Video Transcript

well welcome everyone this is dr. Mercola and we’re here today with dr. Joe and Vern echoes who is the was the former director of life sciences at NASA for many years and she was responsible for monitoring the health of the astronauts as they went into space and finding out what were the damages that were occurring and what can be done to counter that and I’m just beyond excited to have dr. Verna coast with us today for a number of reasons and it’s gonna be a little bit longer introduction because I would like to set the proper framework many of you may not know that I actually one of my initial life’s ambitions was to be an astronaut and even up until college and when I shifted to pre-med then my new passion was exercise in health and dr. Verner Coase has really I’m so excited because what we’ve been seeing in the literature recently within the last year or two is that if you are very very fit and exercise two three four or five times a week for half hour an hour time and just exceptionally fit that if you sit all the time or the great percentage of the time that there is some research that shows that you are going to increase your risk of dying prematurely so what dr. Verner Coase has done it with her research was the astronauts is really kind of understood why this is so and meeting more importantly provided us with a simple regimen that can counteract that side effects so I can’t thank you enough for joining us as I said I’m beyond excited to have you because I think you’ve really been instrumental in helping us understand a crucial aspect of living that can really improve our life and it doesn’t really cost hardly anything to do so welcome and thank you for joining us thank you very much for having me and giving me this opportunity to to explain to people to as many people as possible how they can live a healthy life without really doing too much yes indeed so maybe you can probably provide us with their framework or how you how you first started with NASA and and some of your research and you know how you uncovered this discovery I started out I was hired by NASA in the early days before because of my stress research and after all the concept was that if you take a human and stick them on top of a rocket they probably would be stressed and so I was hired and one of very few actually and much to my amazement in the early days of Germany and even Mercury the measurements of stress hormones were really very low during the flight they were high before and high after they landed but during the flight they were low and I scratched my head and thought well you know here goes a great career opportunity and it did in the event I could explain it on the fact that these were people selected from fighter pilots and test pilots and they had seen action and this was fun being in space was a fun experience it wasn’t it wasn’t the stress compared to with the other things they had done that we would think of and again you know the perception of what stresses comes into this but from that we went to actually observing because most of the work that was done in the early days was observations observing changes that happened as a result of being shot up into Earth orbit which is not totally weightlessness but is microgravity is a considerably reduced level of gravity and that’s what I studied and then we had ground models simulation models because we didn’t have enough astronauts to study of having people lie in bed continuously the Russians and had come up with this notion that if you lie in bed it’s in continued it induces effect similar to those we see in astronauts in space and that is because normally gravity pulls in the head-to-toe direction whereas when you’re lying down it only pulls across the chest and also the concept of inactivity came into it that if you don’t have gravity as you don’t in space them mostly then you have a kind of inactivity because exercise is not efficient it’s not effective or as effective and so I then incorporated into my research at the Ames Research Center in California the model of having people lie in bed and specifically the model of what we call head down bed rest which is the raising the foot of the bed by about 15 inches minus 6 degrees head down this model came about again from the Russians because when their cosmonauts returned from flight they complained that they much as they really wanted to get a good night’s sleep they could not fall asleep because it felt as if they were sliding off the foot of the bed and they’ve also figured that if they raised the foot of the bed by about 15 inches with Moscow phone books which are nice and thick they they could get it felt horizontal so the scientists took a cue from that and said okay maybe head down feels closer to what it feels like in space event lying horizontal and I imported this model to our research center in California where we had the first human research facility and that’s what I did most of my ground research to support the changes that we see in astronauts in space and how to overcome them or prevent them well you know let me mention the which I point that I got from your reading your book about sitting is that I’m a huge fan of exponential growth of technology and all the advances that it provides to us but it seems that it’s really movies in a direction that we’re becoming less and less active because everything becomes more efficient we don’t have to wash our machines by hand we have washing machines we drive everywhere we’re not walking we have a lawnmower service or lawn mower so our our ability to move about regularly and do these chores is just decreasing dramatically with time and as a result as exposing us this is an activity level so you know that sort of sets the stage within the last 10 or 20 years we’ve had this progressively decreasing XP really this crease in normal motions and activity and walking and sitting and standing that really has led to the point where you know the vast majority of people in this country you suffer with back pain and and decreased mobility and flexibility so so if you could sort of expand this story as to how you made the connections and you already mentioned that you know it’s laying down or sitting down is pretty similar to microgravity that the astronauts experience in space so what was the next step that you found next step was that in these volunteers that I recruited for the clinical studies who showed the same changes astronauts show the wasting the muscle wasting the loss in bone density changes in the cardiovascular regulation so that when they stood up after standing up or after coming back from space they had the tendency to faint they sleep wasn’t quite what you’d what they’d like it to be and so on when they came back from space or when they stood up after bed they recovered during Skylab which is the long was the longest missions we had in the early 70s many medical observers commented that astronauts were growing old in space and of course the astronauts didn’t like that here’s the right stuff and some doc is saying you’re growing old doing what you love and it just it was not very popular in the NASA environment but these changes were happening and were very similar to what was happening in in bed and in space and in aging and I came up in 1986 with a little pamphlet basically calling it parallel processes because I could not claim that this was aging because after all we presume we don’t recover from aging and so I called it parallel processes and made the comparison between space and aging then we wrote a book with my colleague Hal Sandler who’s a cardiologist we edited in fact a book and wrote part of it on inactivity which is the first book on inactivity I think that was around and we used our research to develop that but still it was only a parallel observations it was not a cause and effect and until one day one I was doing one of those bedrest studies I was helping a friend out whose parents had come from Greece and spoke no English and what the lady had fallen and broken her hip had it fixed replaced but she refused to stand up and get out of bed and she eventually ended up in a nursing home in California and I decided to help her out and go and visit her because I could communicate with her and I could also communicate to the nurses who were and the staff who were taking care of her because there was no communication there she was in bed she wasn’t getting out of bed she wasn’t doing anything and things were not looking good what struck me at the nursing home was that many of the observations I many of the things I saw in these older people at the home were very similar to what I could see in my subjects that had been lying in bed for seven days I’m not talking huge number of days seven days it was the first studies that I was doing and especially when they get out of bed when balance and coordination is affected and they would pass out and standing up and they shuffled and they they their the feet in fact they were very walketh on the on the top of the foot and slide it down they don’t step pick up the foot and and place it down and and I thought well this is very strange these people that are in bed or the astronauts recover but here are these people in the nursing home showing exactly the same changes maybe one should change turn the question around maybe it’s not what causes these changes that is it or isn’t it aging but maybe if we it is the conditions that they find themselves in the inactivity of the relative inactivity in space that induces this changes rather than the number of years one has and when I started asking that question then some of the research began to make sense and of course we now know that with six months in space that the changes in bone and muscle that occur here on earth over a year like 1% loss of bone or 1% loss of
muscle over a year happen in a month or even a week in space so you get like almost a tenfold acceleration of what now is quite openly called the aging process ok and then you you continue the research further I think with one of the older astronauts were actually one of the first ones that for the very first one was a suborbital flight but I think was Alan Shepard but then the first orbital flight was John Glenn of course and then he he eventually progressed to become a u.s. senator and at the age of 77 he wanted he went to back up in space and then you took the opportunity to do some experiments to to validate your theory of aging and in the microgravity of space go maybe you can expand on that he of course was a senator and he wanted to fly again because when he flew his first orbital flight President Kennedy refused to allow him to fly again he really wanted to go to the moon but the President Kennedy decided it was not politically savvy to let him fly because if anything happened to him here was a national hero and it would backfire politically and so John Glenn never flew again and he always had that yearning and when he he he saw my pamphlet I remember walking by the Public Affairs Office and seeing the senator on the on the floor of the Senate waving my pamphlet around and I was amazed at what all this was about well he happened to be the chair of the Committee on Aging at the time and it occurred to him as he was listening to all these testimonies that what he heard was very much like what he had experienced and what he knew his colleagues were experiencing as they flew so he got very excited and one day in 1997 he walked into my office and he had done some fantastic research himself not his staffers he himself had done the research comparing the aerospace medicine textbook with the PDR on on effects of aging and through the comparisons between the two and he said well I think if I flew again it could provide information that could help everyone as we age and being a scientist I thought well that’s wonderful but flying one person isn’t going to do it we’re going to have to to fly a number of these older astronauts and I was a I was quite concerned because there was no precedent the oldest one who had flown then was story Musgrave and he was 50 and then after that Shannon lucid and she was 52 and postmenopausal but no one at 77 mind you he was a very fit 77 he took care of himself he par walked two miles a day he did three times a day sums and weights of training but still there was a big risk and my administrator was came to me and said well Joan if you can assure me that Senator Glenn will be all right and nothing will happen to him in this flight then I will I will approve his mission and I thought wow this is quite a responsibility so I went to my colleagues at the National she’s done a Ginga Richard Hodes who’s still director there and said look this is the situation let’s help me find out what the conventional wisdom is the medical wisdom is about allowing 77 year olds to come back into space and we gathered some people around some of the experts the conclusion was that it could be very useful however you needed more than an N of one and we went back and forth and thought well we gotta start somewhere there are other astronauts who are getting up to that age so we recommended jointly between the nationalism and aging and ourselves that John Glenn should fly I was concerned not because of what might happen to him during the nine days of flight but what might happen to him in terms of recovery because it was my observation that as people age they can do almost anything if they’re reasonably fit but they need more time to recover between exposures and so so that’s how John Glenn came to fly there was a lot of resistance among the astronaut corps because he was displacing a regular astronaut he had to do a lot of work his regime his physical regime was no different but he was still in the Senate while he was preparing so he would fly back and forth with these CDs of training of what he would have to do every single minute because that’s how shuttle flights were all orchestrated of what these astronauts have to do every single minute who does what participate in the research experiments that whoever he displaced would have had to do provide the samples and monitoring it by a doctor on board and just generally learn all about the shuttle which wasn’t like his his own spacecraft when he we are orbited the earth it was a whole different kind of technology that he had to learn and he was fantastic he participated than all the ground tests and all of that and then the flight happened and everyone observed it and President Clinton took credit and and the administrator to credit and it was just fantastic this press of course huge resurgence of interest in what NASA did because it you know it was a very important person taking the chance we then had a presentation of the results at the NIH one evening a full auditorium and we did all the results with double-blind with I didn’t know what the results were others didn’t know they knew what we knew was and what they showed on the slide was out of the six people who flew one was an outlier so we also does a oh dear there he is he’s an outlier so huh so so he’s old that’s why six this is the six people that were on the flight average age around between 35 and 45 and and then one of 77 and we thought oh dear me there we go so this confirms that if you’re older you react to differently and when the identity of the astronauts in that data in those data points was revealed he was not the outlier a 35 year old was he was smack in the middle of the cluster of the other astronauts and that was fantastic because it suggested that if you are if you take care of yourself and if you are healthy and he was the – mother of power-walking the day was not excessive it it was thorough but it was not excessive in turning his Fitness that if you take care of yourself you can do anything now again I was worried about recovery and he recovered just as fast as anyone else so you found note you found no difference on the aging process in the recovery from microgravity of space that was and no one knew that before no one would have guessed it no one would have bet on it and so that’s a profound observation that you uncovered and so what what can you give your estimation or recommendation of what that means to us living here on earth all the time what it means is that the changes that accompany aging are the result to me at least that’s what it means are the result of our lifestyle rather than or physiological numerological physiological age as we have known it and that we can do something about it we can correct it we can prevent it we certainly can delay it and maybe even prevent it and so as a result of Glenn’s flight I did a lot of public speaking what amazed me at the end of my talks was that people would come up to me and say where can I read more about it and my jaw would drop because there was a textbook but nothing you know for the public that they could understand and I thought well this is ridiculous the next time I go and talk I want to have some notes with me of something something I can hand out and I started collecting these notes to hand out and it soon became a book it took four years to and I decided to leave NASA and really devote myself to communicating what we had found what we were finding and what we were doing with that taxpayers money and my taxpayers money and your taxpayers money in terms of knowledge and advancement and what became abundantly clear to me very quickly was that gravity plays a big role in our physiological function and in the aging process now I came at it completely from the gravity perspective I see now folks writing articles and exercise physiologists which I really have to smile because they’re excellent in their work but they’re hung up on the once a day intensive exercise routine and I explained to them that astronauts exercise a lot in space in fact nobody has flown in space without exercise even from the very early age age they had the exogenous they called it which was bands you know various stretch bands they could hardly move in the in the mercury and they and the Germany spacecraft but nevertheless they did they did something they did not just sit there and so we don’t know what the body would what would happen to the body if they just we told them don’t exercise first of all they would they would but we just don’t know we know we know that if we send rats up there we don’t exercise but all we know is that it accelerates the changes we are seeing over time in spite of the exercise the Russians have been exercising up to four hours a day but you see what happens and it’s only occurred to me recently when we’re trying to think about exploration to Mars for instance and and all these grand schemes those people have want to go sometimes they want to go one way which you know it’s a different issue yeah there’s there’s 80,000 people who volunteer for a one-way trip I know I’m being asked about this sort of thing but what happens and what hasn’t occurred to people is that when you’re in on the ground and you exercise when you stop exercising you’re still in gravity now you may sit for the remainder of the 15 hours a day as your choice or it may be your occupation that encourages you to sit and that one hour is not very effective under those circumstances but if you are carry on a normal day work or life then you are very healthy but in space you can exercise as hard as you possibly can in fact one astronaut Steve Hawley said to me he said it’s a strangest feeling he said I pedaled on that treadmill so hard I just could not do anymore the moment I stopped I felt like I had done nothing I did not pant I did not sweat nothing it’s not that I didn’t
exercise while I was exercising I was exerting myself as much as I could but there was no lasting effect so when you stop and think about it when you stop exercising in space you’re not in gravity you’re absolutely in microgravity or weightlessness so whatever you want to call it low gravity and you immediately start responding to it as if it’s the first time you’re exposed to it so it’s only while you are exercising that you might be having some benefit but you cannot exercise the whole day so something else some different approach has to be taken as far as exploration but maybe we can expand on that because in my mind that’s one of your biggest contributions to to exercise physiology is the appreciation that gravity is an essential component and that you could be hyper fit super-fit with a relatively small amount of exercise especially what we call high intensity exercise training programs was only required 20 minutes a few times a week and you can get really fit but for the if you’re sitting in essentially a microgravity situation not exerting yourself against gravity you’re going to suffer so what maybe you can detail what you’ve what your observations were and what your recommendations are because this is really the meat of your discovery yes and and you know I I still keep improving on on the products but it’s because you become philosophical as you have in your in your presentations gravity is one of the forces for forces of the universe you couple that with light and you couple that with magnetic fields and you begin to have all the factors all the key factors that influence our birth and development on earth this is what we are born into we are born into none of these or at least a buoyancy environment having never experienced the full force of gravity and suddenly we have to adjust we have to adapt we have to use these environmental forces gravity light magnetic fields to develop grow and function in the best way we can to be most effective on earth and if we ignore them if we say well they’re there I’ll take a pill which of course there isn’t one at least not for gravity then we’re doing it at our own risk there’s nothing wrong with sitting sitting is part of our regime now I have things against chairs or the invention of the chair there are other ways of sitting squatting is better than sitting that’s what we were designed to squat were designed to new sitting is okay but it’s uninterrupted sitting that is bad for us we are not designed to sit continuously we are not designed to be quasi microgravity if I can erupt you because I think this is really really profound I’d like to emphasize this uninterrupted sitting can cause serious damage to you and most of us almost everyone watching this in contemporary society is exposed to this risk factor on a regular basis so I it’s just so profound because it really wasn’t appreciated until relatively recently you’re one of the pioneers and bringing this to our attention it still it still is not appreciated because people are still doing research of how many hours sitting is bad for you it’s not how many hours sitting is bad for you it’s how often you interrupt that sitting that is good for you that is so key I say stand up they say okay stand is the opposite of sitting no standing is not the opposite of sitting because sitting continuously is bad for you and standing continuously is bad for you the body is not designed to respond to square waves okay so that there’s there’s a consequence of that statement which is another profound statement that either sitting all the time is bad or standing all the time because there’s this trend in the movement for many people who believe sitting is dangerous so they they use stand-up desk but but from your perspective that’s just as bad is that correct every retail employee will tell you that they suffer all kinds of consequences of many hours of standing on the job even nurses have known this for years that standing on the job is not good for you the gods at Buckingham Palace pass out regularly if they’re not careful or do something about it I contract their muscles while they’re standing so it’s a well known thing except you’re right people have said okay well I’ll do the opposite of sitting understand and that’s simplistic and this is not good either and the the desks have gone to extremes there are desks there is one desk actually called the extension that basically slides up and down and so you can you can move with it as you who wants to do so much movement while they’re working I don’t know but obviously some people feel that they don’t want to waste a single minute but it is the interrupting with the city and the interrupting the sitting is not necessarily walking it is the change in posture now let me come back to because I’ve taught medical school like I know you have and it’s very important because we don’t teach medical students about gravity gravity doesn’t exist in the medical textbooks but even more than that postural change the importance of postural change is not emphasized even in basic physiology texts and it is an extremely key factor the people who have worked on something called non exercise activities needs non-exercise activity thermogenesis James Levine at Mayo and more recently mark Hamilton he did work in rats and now he’s at the Pennington they say in their explanation they’ve looked at fat metabolism and they show the type of protein lipase is reduced during inactivity dramatically and it increases with activity with exercise and then they say but the most effective in increasing lipoprotein lipase is standing up gosh what a surprise and maybe you can just explain what the importance of lipoprotein lipoprotein lipase a wonderful enzyme and that grabs fat from the bloodstream and transports it into muscle to be used as fuel and so you have what you every overweight person would desire is a mechanism to transfer your fat accumulated fat and use it for fuel it’s as simple as that I over simplified but you know because there are many many lipoprotein lipase and so on but this is a human lipoprotein lipase that does that and that responds to activity and inactivity and if you’re lying in bed or if you’re in in the space or if you are sitting for long periods of time it’s it hits bottom and it’s amazing that standing up will prevent it what amazes me even further is that these brilliant people levine and hamilton still cannot understand why what is the mechanism of standing up what does it do what does it do that’s different because when you think of walking you think of X steps and you think of so many calories but but do you think of standing up as exercise not really and we all do it do you think of raising your arm as exercise no but yet something’s happening when you raise your arm and keep it there because if you didn’t it would be hanging down beside you or use your muscle legs or doing something when you stand up they’re contracting to keep you there because if they didn’t you’d be crumpled on the floor so these are all movements almost below threshold kind of movements that do not burn up a lot of calories as we know them but that are designed to work against gravity now let me bring you down to what I think how I think of gravity and how I talk to people about gravity I think of gravity as a virtual rod that runs through our bodies when were standing up to the center of the earth and if we did nothing it would pull us down towards the center of the earth and that’s important too because I’ll come to that in a minute with respect to relaxation which is terribly important to activity so I think of gravity as this virtual rod and as our stimulus it was designed if you if it was designed to be your source of stimulation to our body so when we use it when we challenge it when we challenge its downward force or its acceleration or it’s a factor that gives us our sense of direction our position relative to our environment it it is our weight so it’s not just one thing it’s not just the load on the body it is not just the vestibular system the inner ear that tells us where we are relative to to our to the furniture around us to the screen I’m looking at it is much much more than that of acceleration and their sense of fun because I’ve come to the conclusion all the fun activities that we indulge in are based on gravity what I’m like downhill skiing or one of my new favorites is body boarding in the ocean which is which is yeah down with skiing roller coaster your sports car a motorcycle a swing hanging upside down on parallel bars every fun a bungee cord jumping I mean you know skipping rope trampoline all these fun activities all these games play that we think of our gravity dependent we are using gravity every which way and the moral to the story is be a child again have fun have fun playing and and the other thing that this is this virtual rod of gravity tells us which is terribly important to what people are suffering these days from too much sitting and that is stooping you I see women pass walking by my window and I think that’s wonderful that out there walking but you know what their head is hanging forward and they’re looking at their feet yes they’re walking but they’re not walking upright so they’re not getting the full benefit of gravity can you explain that because that’s it that’s a really surprising distinction you know if you think of using this gravity rod think of it going through you any way you orient yourself to this rod changes how much it is used by by you by your body so if you bend forward it is in fact the weight of your head is being pulled down also by gravity so if you’re holding up right over your spine it is not pulled forward it is exactly where it’s supposed to be your spine carrying the weight of your head and we know that that your head falling forward is not a healthy
thing and you may want to elaborate on that but it is a very dangerous sign of aging and something that needs to be corrected as soon as possible and it’s surprisingly common I mean it’s it’s it’s it’s pervasive and you know there’s and it’s sad because there’s such a simple solution it doesn’t all indirectly involves it’s time it’s not expensive doesn’t of our equipment it’s just a mouse some postural readjustments when you think of sitting or people sitting at the office again the office chair is not your friend first of all it’s not your friend because if it’s on rollers it prevents you from standing up to go and get that thing it’s a few feet away you’re scooting on the rollers of the chair and secondly it is meant designed for comfort and we’ve become comforted ICTA so what he proposed is a better alternative to the traditional office chair interesting why why no armrests promise me that you really rest your elbows on it and you’re not resting your elbows are you if you rest your elbows and push them back every so often which means your shoulder blades or push it being pushed back and then you can relax again but you do it as often as you possibly can and that will correct your a lot of your postural problems but if you sit in the heart back chair good old-fashioned chair it can have a nice you know comfortable pillow but at least forces you to stand up and to set up there are many things you can do at the office I used to hold stand-up meetings for instance there were only 10 minute meetings it was wonderful because we we got a lot done everybody had their say and off we went to do whatever we were meant to do we rather than just lounging in a chair and you know listening to someone talk there are just getting up from your chair I had I had a person and one of my talks say put the hand up and say well I can’t do all this I’ll get fired I said what’d you do he said well I work for a computer company I said well you drink water he said well yes I said you get up and go to the water fountain he says we don’t have a water fountain another casualty of modern technology but he says I have bottle on of water on my desk I said wonderful put it on the desk next to you put it on the windowsill whatever you have so that when you are thirsty and want to drink you get up and go there and and does it drink as much as you possibly can he says well I do I said and you go to the bathroom often he said well I hadn’t thought of it that way I said well all it is is structuring your life to incorporate these movements that our parents and grandparents used to do in the course in the business of living into your day and you do them without thinking and that’s why I call them gravity habits orgy habits and would it be safe to say that these habits are also quantified or determined and non exercise activities and the NTAs so that the challenge is to get more of this into your life because almost all of us are deficient in them all day every day including weekends that gets a chuckle I mean why exercise on the weekend right no you move now after I read your book I was inspired and really I got it you and I in the name of your book could you tell us the name of your book and I’m not I don’t recall specifically sitting sitting kills that’s it that’s it sitting killed highly right highly recommend the book it real simple book it’s not complex it’s easy to read in one setting almost and after I read I was inspired because it was you know you present very eloquently and simply that the concepts and what I what I understood is that I just have to change this because I was at one of the biggest guilty people out there was sitting all day long I structured my life so it was very efficient I could sit almost all day so what what I did was I found an online timer and I had to go off every 10 minutes and then and then the simple version is justice just to stand up and that that would be sufficient but I think the minimum was that you need about 35 times a day to stand up so it but what I here’s that innovation that I did is always like to tweak things and make them better in your book you have a table of different activities that expose you to gravity and one of them is is jumping up and down so that you can get up to six times gravity so what I do is I I stand up every 10 minutes when the timer goes off and I do four jump squats so I can do yeah so I just I can show you what I can do is I just go down you know like the 10 minutes and to come down and then just do do four of them and and then that then I sit down again so do you think that that integrating a higher g-force acting into the not because this still is an exercise I mean my heart’s up a little bit but it’s basically not exercise so do you think that that would in what what I just give me your comments on there because I’m really interested sure sir you’re welcome to because it is exactly that the more gravity stimulation you get the better of you are it’s interesting because in 2005 I wrote for popular science they have a very short thing called headlines for the future and they wanted me to say something about because one of the things I did before I left NASA as design what I call the human powered centrifuge I’m not an engineer so you know don’t don’t misunderstand me it was just that as I was growing up went during the summers to Greece we used to my sister and I had to pump the water up from the sister and we used to take turns at pumping them and I thought well you know this human power involved here why because they said oh we can’t put the centrifuge on the on the shuttle because it takes up power and I thought well this is stupid why not use human power as you rotate that plate that you spin around on the centrifuge to generate gravity and so I designed such a thing and patented it and and it’s it it will see the light of flight one of his days but so I thought for headlines for the future is that everyone should have one in their basement and that’s basically you know if you want to lose weight because animals within the 50s this research was done that a variety of species from from mice chickens rabbits to monkeys spun in a centrifuge at only two times Earth’s gravity when after a month if you studied them they had not a drop of fat in their abdomen so this is this was a being continuously exposed to two times gravity and they ate more yes okay can we can we expand on the how you came to the conclusion of the number of times you need to stand up a day and and and so what was the threshold is because under a certain if you don’t if you only do it five or six times it’s certainly better than nothing but you’re not going to get the benefits and then maybe you can discuss some of the what of that some of the what those benefits are because they are really quite profound research I was doing these bedrest studies and came to this we know we’re trying to find a way of protecting the astronauts and the exercise it didn’t matter what kind aerobic conditioning aerobic endurance vo2 max was easy to achieve relatively easy once a day you could maintain their OB capacity but you always had like a 50% effectiveness of whatever exercise you did whether it was isotonic isokinetic strength resistance whatever it was only about 50% effective now I think they have it up to about maybe 70 60 to 70 percent they say but this was always never quite enough and you still got all the changes you know the ten fold loss of bone and muscle and so on when that when the astronauts return so obviously it’s not really what you want it to be and I thought well maybe the question to ask is what would it take how much time would I have to spend up right if I’m in bed 24 hours a day how many many times do I have to stand upright um or how much time do I need to stand upright or upright oh and walking to prevent these changes of being in bed 24 hours and so I got a group of volunteers and in fact we did a double-blind all these all the conditions with in all of the subjects and they would come at monthly intervals and they’d be exposed to one condition and we already had them in in bed for four days which is plenty to induce these changes and by the way you get the flu or something like that and you can’t exercise there are things you can do to help you not feel weak and nasty after you get up from the flu and the question I asked was okay how many times do I need to stand up and stand up and walk and much to my amazement the answer was that you that standing was more effective than walking now of course that was contrary to everything we believed in yeah absolute Connor intuitive Asura to the exercise routines we were using which were more and more intense and what I had done in a very simplistic way was that I asked my subjects to stand up every hour on the hour by the bed then for 15 minutes which since I know you don’t need or we’d wheeled them on a gurney next to a treadmill and they would walk at three miles an hour which is mild for 15 minutes for the 15 minutes and then go back to bed and we found that the standing up by the bed was more effective than the walking certainly for cardiovascular changes and for metabolic changes for calcium excretion though as little as 30 minutes once a day it was enough it did not take very much and I don’t think it would you would need you know many times of doing that during the day what was important was that to prevent the changes you needed at least 16 times a day of standing up for the cardiovascular system sick one six 16 times that is enough to prevent to prevent the loss 25% loss in aerobic capacity in four days the plasma volume reduction and the sensitivity of the receptors pressure receptors in the neck and I was very perplexed and of course the next study would have been to have them stand for less than 15 minutes because after all you you don’t stand
still for 15 minutes you’re contracting muscles and I wanted to make sure that it was a minimum standing without too much of the energy using energy generating muscle contractions and of course to see if you stayed in bed longer would you need more or whatever but at that time I was recruited to go to NASA headquarters and be a bureaucrat so I that was the end of my actual experimental research when I saw that and as I started thinking about aging and people sitting more and more including myself I realized that obviously the trajectory from lying down to standing up is much greater than sitting to standing up and that I speculated that it would take at least 32 to 36 times of standing from sitting to generate the same effect since that time there is an Australian exercise physiologist called David Dunstan who has done some actual sitting experiments and found in fact that is is so that you need many more times to stand up but we all do stand up that many times it’s not it’s not excessive when you stop and think about it well I don’t know I’m not sure that that’s quite accurate I I know it wasn’t true for me I mean I would wind up sitting for hours at a time without standing up with you know because I just you just get into projects so so so it was interests I didn’t realize it was 16 times from a lay laying down soup I’m position in bed but you have to double that to 36 at the time well the research supports it it sounds like now no but that Australian did it right you know I try to explain to my audiences that if you stand up every half hour for instance from sitting it is not so that is what I did two times if you stood up and sat down repeatedly within 32 minutes it is not the same effect there is a difference you need to spread the responses spread with change spread the signal the stimulus throughout the day and that’s a very important factor that is an extremely important that is so you just can’t do because otherwise you’re really converting those 32 it’s almost like a regular exercise it’s not a non-exercise activity so how do you think these jump squats I just demonstrated to you if you integrated that into the standing process would that decrease the requirement because you’re getting a bigger stimulus well I mean maybe go down to 16 because it sounds like 16 if you’re laying down was sufficient so you may sit instead if they’re okay well I can’t hurt because clearly it’s exposing you to more of this force that really is crucial part of our health that’s incredibly underappreciated in fact what we’re doing is we’re tuning our body now body a body needs to be tuned so that when the need arises for it to run away from the line or climb a tree or whatever it is fit to do so the fact that we don’t use this need anymore unless we’re in Afghanistan or somewhere in the battlefield or we are an athlete the fact that we don’t use it doesn’t mean it’s gone from our make up so it’s it’s it’s the on/off the ability of using this standing up gravity stimulus the more the better to tune us to keep us tuned and in order to stay tuned we need to do it throughout the day it appears it appears so know that you know some studies are beginning to show that in fact several times a day on the same energy expenditure is more efficient in regulating insulin and lipids than a bout of intense exercise once a day sitting then the same amount of time so in some Dutch work and so on and have you reviewed the studies that found what I mentioned earlier that the people who sit more tend to have a decrease in increased risk of death from as opposed to those who didn’t and and if you have reviewed them how does that correlate with your theory or what your observations are not because they’re dying but because it reinforces the seriousness of what sitting does and what these studies did epidemiological so they went back and looked at statistics of risk of various cancers they looked at breast and they looked at colon cancer and and the fact that you know how many died and how many hours of sitting which was again anecdotal they asked the people how many hours a sudden they were told and the risk of death increased with the number of hours sat and both in for colon cancer and breast cancer and of course the wise guys in my audience say well it’s only for breast cancer and colon cancer now say hey that’s where they started with their studies don’t care happen to be the two of the most common cancers known to man at least in North America it is now of being shown that it is true for the incidence and the risk of prostate cancer it is true for almost any cancer you look at and of course it is true for for it’s becoming true for various cardiovascular risk factors like heart attacks and stroke and things like that but let’s have you comment on another aspect of the aging study that would Senator Glenn and I think that’s it’s inspiring because someone could listen to what you said and become very discouraged you know I’ve been sitting for 30 or 40 years I’m doomed or what can I do but the exciting aspect of your research is that the human body is dynamic and it can reverse this process so why don’t you explain that because it’s it’s just very exciting it’s never too late essentially that’s why the first book I called harness gravity and reverse aging and you know people said oh come on you know well that was 2004 I think today I thought I could say it with more conviction because yes you can change what you are the body is plastic the body changes all the time we have new cells being generated all the time new brain cells which was thought not to be the case some years ago as well as new cells everywhere including skin cells and it is extremely exciting because the the stimulus that these gravity related activities non-exercise activities generate is is is easy it is simple movements every which way the greater variety the better and that’s important because the one gets used to the same thing over and over again so the more variety you introduce the more on often throughout the day the better and introduce the concept of fun and playing dance dancing is a wonderful activity I had an 87 year old at the Leisure World or I spoke one day and she was there with her Walker very elegant lady Walker and I asked I asked people what exercise they didn’t you put her hand up and she says I dunce and I thought oh yeah okay how oh she says I put the music out loud and I have chairs in my kitchen with rollers on them and I push them around and I dance and I thought isn’t that wonderful absolutely wonderful so there’s nothing to stop someone from having fun and that is very important I was wonder if I get your insights on a tool that I believe initially was used in the space program it’s the acceleration training or power plate was one of the first ones which actually can increase the gravity up to six times or so depending on the settings that you use and I’m wondering if you could comment on that to what your what your observations are and if I guess the potential integration of that into a program an ideal program that you might recommend a a sway plate is one vibration is another clinton rubin up in new york has developed a high frequency low intensity vibration which seems to be it doesn’t generate that much to gravity I mean it’s not it’s not a jarring stimulus but it is subtle enough and and the the information about high frequency low intensity seems to be important so when we’re moving around and we see a speck on the floor and we bend down pick it up is that exercise know if we reach up to to get a book off the shelf or or a part of the of the cupboard is it exercise no when we brush our teeth is it better to brush with a brush or with an electric brush electric brush already takes away some of the movement that we normally would do with a regular brush do we for instance you know all kinds of garden play golf for him think you’re gonna play golf don’t take a cart carry your golf balls or at least slope yes by all means do sport no one says don’t exercise I think that is very important to bring across I just wanted to clear up this question I had on the acceleration training you had mentioned the frequency as anyone that you know looked at the importance of the different frequencies because you can go to low frequencies like 30 30 cycles per seconds 30 Hertz up to maybe 50 or 60 and is there a sweet spot and is it matter if you’re like standing on it because then the the the vibration gets transferred through heals however it is very interesting because I asked Clinton whether for instance people with spinal cord injury could benefit and he said well we’ve been trying to get funded to do that study but the peer review says oh come on I mean you know you’re going to sever your cord and they finally had a pilot study approved by the VA and the NIH and they put a tooth sensor in the in the people and they had them sit obviously with their feet on the plate and and the sensor in the teeth picked up the vibration in the feet which meant it’s something something was getting up there they haven’t finished the subsequent study well which was to take people with spinal cord injury and look at their bones in the muscles and see if they can be maintained with such a treatment it should be fantastic gravity medicine very few people have noticed but I had to put it in the last chapter and the book is about gravity therapy right you see gravity is treatment and there are obvious ones like rehabilitation for instance but I think one of the very near and dear to my heart is the treatment of kids with born with cerebral palsy and you know there are volunteers that go to the hospital and use the pull the legs in walking type of motion so that the brain gets the idea that this motion is part of the of what it has to do and but what they don’t do is have the babies
upright so that they can benefit from the stimulus of gravity while they’re moving their legs and there is an institute in Hungary called the fetter Institute that does just that they don’t know why but they know that it works I mean they never don’t know why they never evoked gravity as the reason but to me looking looking at it it’s obvious that that’s what’s happening so gravity as treatment can be used it can reduce the number of deaths at birth because the way we’ve changed the the birthing process we cut the cord and pick up the babies upright well they’re like astronauts they pass out because they don’t have the regulatory sensors developed to send the blood up to the head and therefore the longer you have them lying down until they get adjusted to living in this gravity environment the better off they’ll be so there are a lot of implications that I think will be found eventually and certainly I think it will be useful in diabetics spinning on a centrifuge because the right kind of muscles you see its posture muscles predominantly it’s what we call stabilizers rather than the mobilizing muscles a big big vastus lateralis and hamstrings and so on that our posture muscles are what work against gravity could you give some examples of the posture muscles there these are small muscles in the spine and the leg they are the ones that when you stand up if that’s what you recruit so people who have trouble standing up and again I do that in my talks I ask people to stand up and they roll all over the place and lean on the table on the chair to get themselves up I say that’s ok that’s ok you start out that way but eventually those cellairis muscles are going to be strengthened to the point that you can stand up without leaning on your knees or leaning on anything I want to tell you about the study which is not in my book that I saw recently a belt a Brazilian group and you may have seen it has developed a scoring for aging oh yes we I did it we did a whole lead article on that I was it was fascinating absolutely fascinating yeah yeah that was yeah or or multiple things like both hands in both arms yeah and they go from an upright position and they it’s very interesting the way they drop into their knees so they’re holding that upper body posture straight they drop into their knees and they do this three or four times and they and then of course they they kneel over and put their head on the ground and kneel over and put the head on the ground and then stand up again and they do this five times a day that’s why they live to be a hundred I said well there may be some necessarily but they obviously can’t do that and that’s just like the Brazilian you you you’ve really opened the eyes as so many people about the importance of these non exercise activities I’m wondering if you could sort of frame that that the exercises you just mentioned and how they would integrate to it extras a regular traditional exercise program where you you know you’ve got these mobilize as much as the large muscles of the body but the ones that most of us don’t think of and we believe when we think of exercising such as running or high intensity exercises or strength training so yeah if I guess it I guess it’s sort of a curiosity question if I think ideally both we should do both but if for whatever reason a person was limited to one or the other sort of an experiment is it your belief that if they didn’t exercise and did the non exercise activities they’d be healthier gosh and more important than regular exercise oh it’s like everyone has it backwards well not so much now we have the DVRs you just fast-forward the commercials yes technology well it does I mean it provides a lot of benefits to us in humanity as a whole but as long as we understand the basic requirements that we or our that are dictated to us by our ancestors our operating your biochemistry or genetics and if we honor those with relatively simple techniques that only take a few minutes a day it could have dramatic and profound implications on our on the quality of our life and in the length of our life was he seeing big improvements by by having them do that and these are types type 2 diabetics I’m assuming is an extension of snapping so I are taking it the next step is jumping do what’s your opinion police rebounders and the balance is extremely important because I see kids because that’s what they are for me 20 year olds because if you think that we develop until about 20 and then we quit moving we go to college now we sit absolutely so what is the ideal regimen for someone using the trampoline could you could you give your comments on that just once a day okay don’t do nothing the rest of the time it’s not I’ve ticked the box routine and varied do squats and jumps one day do some trampoline one or two days do some go to the playground they should have adult playground nobody the children aren’t using them both Finland and Germany have indulged playgrounds oh yes it’s not that it’s not my creation I thought I had been vented it but no they have them and they used and not only that what I told to the locals here is I said look if we have if I recruit the older people to go and use the swings at the playground perhaps the children would go also because there wouldn’t be the fear the safety factor you know it’s it’s this sort of encouraging and I’m worried about the kids because I think the kids are sitting oh absolutely but it’s a simple solution and it’s beginning back to the playground that seesaw another perfect example that was one of my favorite favorite pieces of equipment in it in a playground the seesaw hopscotch who plays hopscotch anymore who skips rope you know these are all fun activities bicycling bicycling is very good it’s not a particularly gravity related activity but it’s an acceleration aspect of the gravity stimulus and we mustn’t forget that we need to stimulate all the receptors we have that perceive gravity and we don’t know yet what they all are we know the inner ear is very important we know that we have receptors in our soles of our feet and our hands probably but we probably have them everywhere the beauty of gravity is it’s a mechanical force and now there is as you know the great movement in in mechanical transduction in other words if you if you take a cell and you you elongate you change its shape that triggers a stimulus that conveys the next cell that it’s time to do something and change my shape and I sincerely believe and that’s why I think people with spinal cord injury for instance would benefit I believe that the stimulus of gravity gets through from one cell to another through Meccano transduction is transduced it it’s changed into a protein to a chemical message that gets to the next cell and also we now know that inactivity reduces the number of telomeres in the mitochondria the oxidative stress component and if you’re active if you do non exercise activities you restore the telomere length so interesting and many some people experts aging experts believe that the telomere length may be one of the most important parameters of the how long you’re going to live as it et and and the telomere lengths are some of the very critical markers that you can use for the aging process and for disease for disease any disease and and non exercise activities like you’re promoting will improve off all of those variables and criteria reduce inflammation it will it will increase telomere length and together of course together with nutrition you I don’t believe that any one thing does every of course it’s it’s a whole variety of different factors but but I can you know I’m passionate about health I’ve been studying it for decades I’m trying to teach people how to do it but I can tell you that what you’ve uncovered is just novel virtually no one knows about it and it may be one of the most important factors and it’s it’s very rare to everyone to ever learn new information like you’re presenting that has such a profound impact on health and it’s so simple but that I’ve you know what I’ve learned about health is that usually the best and most important ideas are the simplest Oh interesting interesting I thought you’d like that Oh interesting you know astronauts in space sleep what apparently looks like perfectly normal EKG variety of sleep adequate hours but to a one they we’ll tell you they when they wake up they do not feel refreshed and if you have as I sure you have sat on an airplane and tried to sleep sitting up and you sleep but you get up and you feel terrible and there are soldiers for instance you will sleep upright but it’s never satisfactory but why do we put our head down to sleep because I am convinced that gravity has a role it is very interesting the other thing that nobody knows anything about oh very little is what happens during sleep during the night – the metabolism yeah we know it’s it’s goes down we know certain hormones increase at certain times but for instance if you go in water if you sit in water if you’re gonna pool at night if you go to the pool and during the day the first thing you do if you’re a child suddenly and some adults is pee okay right now if you do that at night you don’t we had a guy who wanted to know whether during this during the night in our bed rest subjects let me regress it redress this during the day in bed rest subjects as in space you lose calcium you pour out in the urine at all what you don’t along but over time you do any of that if we lose by continuous inactivity lack of postural queue whatever it turns out to be I’m inclined to accuse the trigger over time we lose that shut down reflect for the kid during the night so people as we age yet have to get up and empty their bladder and I’ve made it my personal goal not to succumb to that and you can well and it just radically sort of Domino’s your health down
in a downward spiral because unique sleep is another important constituent of health and if you can’t sleep well you’re you just radically spiral downwards so you know I just I am just so grateful for your work and for all the pioneering efforts you’ve done you know because I I’ve been fit my whole life I started exercising when I was a teenager and I’ve been exercising for coming up on 50 years now and but I noticed it and I started to get to my 50s that my flexibility wasn’t as what what it used to be in my I just had to I would be straining to get out of his chair I could you know wouldn’t be able to get up other but I am convinced now there’s just no doubt in my mind it was because I wasn’t doing enough of the non exercise activities and I was becoming very efficient and and sitting in my chair and getting a lot of stuff done and accomplished but I was ignoring this absolutely crucial component of health and you know it’s very rare as I said earlier where I find people who really have this profound insight on health and you have and you’re probably it’s what one of the ten greatest appreciations that I have on health is what you’ve discovered so I can’t thank you enough for for doing that oh yeah I think we definitely will there’s that I mean it’s you know we’ve done it in many other areas like vitamin D we were one of the major issues the dangers of this way dangers of swine flu vaccine was another one essential fatty acids astaxanthin there’s a whole variety of different topics where we’ve really been the leaders and catalyze it but this will not be hard because it makes so much sense and if there’s there’s no cost to it all of those is standing up so it’s just I mean I mean ideally you want to do all the other exercises but if but would I guess one of the final thoughts I had questions for you is if if the person did nothing else other than stand up 30 to 36 times a day and did I mean they don’t have to do some of the others but essentially none of the others if they did would that be sufficient to provide the stimulus to prevent the doubt the downsides of not having non-exercise activity I want to be healthy and I want to be independent I want to be independent as long as I live which means I maintain my youthfulness right obviously not my age so that I can enjoy life however long it happens to be and once you ask that then you say okay where do I start and try and be minimalist few activities that are directed towards this fundamental approach and it’s how you do it it’s what you do how long do you do it and you know and you’ve got it it’s so simple so again I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the the pioneering work you’ve done this area if people want more information we will have it on article that accompanies us but your book is sitting kills available online at Amazon it is easy to get it’s a simple book I highly recommend it it’s an easy read and you could you go into some more details in depth at that book but we’ll help reinforce this concept and hopefully everyone watching this there is not anyone alive who doesn’t need or benefit from this activity so it’s it’s just absolutely crucial virtually no one’s doing it and it’s just you’re crazy not to integrate into your lifestyle you