Based on a groundbreaking new study by doctors at the Mayo Clinic, the negative health consequences for someone who is stuck at an office desk for nine hours or more a day, can not necessarily be compensated for by diet and exercise alone.
Using sophisticated measuring instruments lyrically dubbed: Magic Underwear, Bod Pods, Treadmill Desks and a concept based on little body movements called NEAT (which stands for: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), Dr. James Levine, an inactivity researcher who heads the Mayo study, is able to read every movement a person makes, even those barely perceptible, unconscious movements a person makes while seated, to determine why some people with identical daily food intake habits gain more weight than others.
Since 2005, according to a recent article by James Vlahos of The New York Times who spoke to doctors at the Mayo Clinic about their work, Dr. Levine and his team have been “able to plumb the mysteries of a closed metabolic universe in which every calorie, consumed as food or expended for energy, could be accounted for.”
With the help of his motion tracking Magic Underwear, Dr. Levine, and his colleague, Dr. Michael Jensen, also a Mayo Clinic researcher, have turned traditional obesity research on its head by relegating a person’s food burning capacity, or metabolic rate, to a much more subordinate role than it has been widely believed to play in weight gain and loss.
Even regular exercise, the researchers discovered, is not enough to stave off the harmful, life-shortening, effects of a predominately sedentary lifestyle. According to Dr. Levine, the notion that jogging, or hitting the gym a few times a week, can offset hours spent glued to an office chair, makes “scarcely more sense than the notion that [a person] could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging.”
Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health,” Dr. Levine said, “whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym.”