18 October 2022

We sit and lose weight

Scientists have found an exercise that allows you to lose weight by sitting for 10 hours a day

Arnak, getMatch's blog on Habra

Recently, a discussion broke out again about how you can lose weight while working in IT. So, there is a good (and scientific) way, and it is actually simpler than one would expect.

Of course, if you do nothing, you will only get fat. The average office employee today sits for more than 10 hours a day. I feel that we are even more, especially if we play, read Habr or watch YouTube at our leisure. Personally, I can't be dragged away from the computer at all. Although I have read a lot of studies talking about big health problems arising from a sedentary lifestyle.

For example, it has been proven that regardless of the level of physical activity, too much sitting increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia and serious back problems. More than half of all people in the world today already suffer from these problems, and more than 80% of people aged 60+.

The solution, of course, is simple — exercises, in any possible form. But if you are like me, then training is boring and hard, right? Most of us hate physical education. Besides, there is no extra time for this. Bonus hours will not magically appear every day.

But? it seems that there is a way to speed up the metabolism in the body, even sitting at the PC. And definitely avoid problems with metabolism and obesity. A few weeks ago, the work of scientists led by Mark Hamilton from the University of Houston (Hamilton et al., A potential physiological method to magnify and sustain soleus oxidative metabolism improves glucose and lipid regulation) was published. They have developed a technique that allows you to use the unexpected property of the calf muscles, and do a full workout for your body without getting up from your chair. It turns out that losing weight while working in IT is not so difficult. I'm experiencing for myself, the flight is normal. And what kind of pumped legs you will have!

Hidden potential


The research is based on a technique called soleus pushups (SPU). According to scientists, it allows you to activate a unique muscle function in the shin area and significantly accelerate metabolism with minimal physical effort.

The main conclusion there is that the flounder muscle can maintain an active metabolism in the body for several hours without getting tired, even when a person is sitting in a chair. For "push-ups" it is enough to raise the heel to the maximum height, keeping the front part of the foot tightly pressed to the ground, and then slowly lower the heel. During the tests, the team found that the area of the soleus muscle is the most active place in the body for the breakdown of carbohydrates, such as glucose.

A study conducted on volunteers with different levels of physical activity, from overweight people to hardy athletes, showed that no known drug can compare with the increase in oxidative metabolism of the whole body, which can be achieved in the process of pressing the flounder muscle. The team claims that the SPU method has proven to be more effective in regulating blood glucose levels than workouts such as running on a treadmill, diet and interval fasting.

According to their calculations, simply lifting the heel for at least 15 minutes a day is better than almost any physical exercise.

Although more energy is spent on walking and especially running (see Table 2 in their work), for some reason the metabolism from training the flounder muscle turns on more. And that is what we want to achieve. Oxidative metabolism is a process in which oxygen is used to burn metabolites such as glucose and fats (triglycerides) in the blood.

Hamilton (who, if anything, is one of the world's leading experts on human risk, with more than 80 publications over decades of work) writes:

We never dreamed that this muscle has such an ability. It has always been inside our body, but until now no one has ever examined it specifically. It turns out that with proper activation, the flounder muscle can raise local oxidative metabolism to a high level for several hours, not minutes, like other muscles of our body. The dependence of the flounder muscle on glycogen is much lower than usual. Probably because we depend so much on it for walking. This helps her to work for hours without noticeable effort, without getting tired during this type of muscle activity, because there is a certain limit to muscle endurance caused by glycogen depletion.

As far as we know, this is the first concerted attempt to develop a specialized type of contractile activity aimed at optimizing human metabolic processes.


A muscle biopsy conducted by scientists showed that the contribution of glycogen to the nutrition of the flounder muscle is minimal. Instead of breaking down glycogen, she prefers to use other fuels, such as glucose and cholesterol. Which makes her workout ideal for those who want to keep the body in good shape and not get fat.

A godsend for those who like to sit at the computer

During tests of SPU training, it was found that this method leads to a 52% reduction in blood sugar levels, while the need for insulin is reduced by 60%. There was also a doubled rate of fat metabolism in the body and a decrease in the total level of fat in the blood.

Emphasizing the enormous potential of this research, Professor Mark Hamilton writes in his paper:

All together, the 600 muscles of the body usually provide only 15% of the oxidative metabolism of the whole body within three hours after taking carbohydrates. But, despite the fact that the flounder muscle makes up only 1% of body weight, it is able to increase the metabolic rate twice by itself! During the SPU reductions, we saw that it is possible to easily double and sometimes triple the oxidation of carbohydrates of the whole body. We are not aware of any existing or developing pharmaceutical preparations that could come close to increasing and maintaining the oxidative metabolism of the whole body at such a level.

A new approach to maintaining metabolism during training of the flounder muscle is also effective for doubling the normal rate of fat metabolism during fasting between meals.

So, how to properly pump the flounder muscle?

In short: you are sitting, legs on the floor, muscles relaxed. Lift the heel, while the front part of the foot remains in place. When the heel reaches the maximum amplitude, the foot is passively released, and the foot returns down. The goal is to shorten the calf muscle at the same time, while the flounder muscle is naturally activated by its motor neurons.

You can do it both at an average pace or very slowly, depending on the mood and situation. In fact, it seems to me that many people have been doing this for a long time — I remember, out of boredom, I sometimes pulled my leg like that in school lessons. I didn't know that it could be useful for something.

According to the researchers, although such a movement from the outside may look like walking (although it is performed while sitting), in fact it is the complete opposite. Our body is designed in such a way that when walking, the amount of energy used is minimized due to the way the flounder muscle moves. Hamilton's method turns everything upside down and forces the flounder muscle to use as much energy as possible, and for a long period of time.

Pressing the flounder muscle from the side seems simple, but sometimes what we see with the naked eye is not everything. In fact, this is a very specific movement, the practice of which can bring great health benefits.

Well, or here's a video on YouTube.

Hamilton says this is the perfect exercise for people who sit in one place for many hours every day. It brings the necessary metabolic relief for the body. And this is not some new "unique" fitness advice or a new diet of the month. It's just a powerful physiological movement based on the characteristics of the flounder muscle. Offering an effective alternative for burning fat and improving metabolism. In short, judging by their tests, with regular SPU exercise, the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be largely negated.

I myself, after reading about this technique, have been doing such exercises for a little more than a week. I can say that it is not difficult to do them, even if quickly. And indeed, the body feels more alive after a couple of minutes, as if you are not just sitting, but something is happening.

If you develop it as a habit, it will be very cool. Well, in general, if you're sitting, it's boring, you can pull your leg up and down for 10-15 minutes - that's something. You quickly begin to feel how the blood accelerates. Indeed, the body wakes up.

The only disadvantage of the whole process is that colleagues in the office or household may look with suspicion, not understanding what is happening. From the outside, it looks like you have a nervous tic. And explaining all this to them is somehow awkward, you seem strange to yourself. But for myself, so far, I have decided to twitch every day for 15 minutes, because the exercise does not strain absolutely.

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