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Sheri Colberg Part 7, Diabetes and Sedentary Lifestyle

In part 7 of this Exclusive Interview, Sheri Colberg talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California about the importance of exercise, even for the elderly, and the benefits of solutions such as standup desks.

Sheri Colberg, PhD, FACSM is Professor Emerita of Exercise Science at Old Dominion University in Virginia and a member of the Diabetes in Control Advisory Board.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed — I recently had the opportunity to go into a nursing home. And they put everybody in a circle in a room so they can watch them and they’re just sitting there and they’re not moving at all. You know, something is wrong with that.

Sheri Colberg — Yes, you know it’s wrong for two reasons. One is that we know that you can improve brain and mental function with physical activity, so having them all there is wrong just in that you know it’s not a stimulating activity. Number two is they need to be physically active as much as they possibly can within their limitations. Most people, if nothing else, can practice just standing up from the chair and sitting back down, standing up sitting down. That’s one of those using-your-bodyweight-as-resistance types of activities that also improves balance. And you know these people would probably function, even if they have dementia or they have alzheimer’s, they would function so much better and just feel better if they would help them be physically active however they’re able to. I can’t solve the nursing home problem. I understand they’re probably staff-limited and those are issues that are hard to deal with with a large group of people, but maybe they can find some way for them to do group activity even of it’s, I don’t know, hitting a beach ball around so everyone has to respond when it comes to them.

Steve Freed — I recently bought a stand-up desk. Is that some kind of exercise?

Sheri Colberg – Absolutely. You stand there all day long and you want to sit down. After a while, your legs are tired. It’s an endurance type of activity. it certainly does use calories and simply for weight management it may be a very effective strategy. There was a study that was done years ago where they looked at a group of lean individuals and a group of obese individuals. They didn’t have diabetes. But they are just compared their body weight and their physical activities and they found that the main difference between the groups, obese vs lean, was that the lean group stood up for two hours a day longer than the obese group. So just simply standing an extra two hours a day used up a large number of calories and helped them maintain their weight.

Steve Freed — This one you can raise or lower so when you get tired, you just lower it.

Sheri Colberg — There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been in work situation, work places where they everybody had the option of a standing or sitting desk. It was interesting. It seemed to be a social thing ‘cuz when I walked around some areas all the desks would be up and maybe there was peer pressure from their team leader. “We’re all going to stand up.” And then the other ones I went and all the desks were dow except for the one that popped up and I’m like, “Huh. I wonder if it’s kind of like a peer-driven thing.”

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