New studies are highlighting increased risks of a host of diseases including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. These new studies are more accurate than past studies because they depend on firsthand versus secondhand research. That means that researchers study people in a lab. All eating and exercise is documented in the lab rather than by asking participants questions later. This way participants have no room to fudge if they don't remember or are embarrassed of their activities. One study tool, hilariously named Dr. Levine's Magic Underwear, is a pair of shorts which resemble biker shorts. These 'magic underwear' record all movements, conscious or unconscious taken by a study participant.
The findings were unexpected. Exercise is not an anecdote to sitting too much. Your body in a chair is lethal to your health. As your muscles silence you're at risk for a number of ailments. A story in the New York Times outlines what happens:
"Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for 'vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,' as Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.