It's welcome news for those of us who break into a sweat at the mere thought of breaking a sweat. Simply pottering around the house could help keep you fit.
Studies have shown that the body's metabolism reacts differently when people are standing to when they are sitting, with fat more likely to be burned than stored. The sheer effort of standing upright is enough to double the metabolic rate - and the amount of calories burned.
Researchers now say that gentle activity such as pacing around while talking on the phone or tidying cupboards while watching TV is just as important, if not more so, than strenuous exercise.
Professor Marc Hamilton, of the University of Missouri, said: "If you stand up, you are much more likely to end up pacing or pottering around and that seems to make a crucial difference."
In a series of studies, he showed that enzymes responsible for breaking down fat are suppressed when a person is sitting rather than standing, leading to fat being stored, rather than burned off.
"The enzymes in blood vessels of muscles responsible for fat burning are shut off within hours of not standing," he said. "Standing and moving lightly will re-engage the enzymes, but since people are awake 16 hours a day, it stands to reason that when people sit much of that time they are losing the opportunity for optimal metabolism through the day."
Given that few of us exercise vigorously every day, pottering could make an important contribution to a person's weight and fitness, he said.
Source - Daily Mail