RSS
Can sitting all day make your butt bigger?
New research provides yet another reason to get off the couch
 
That comfortable office chair could be bad news for your posterior, according to a new study that finds too much sitting makes for a fatter tush.
That comfortable office chair could be bad news for your posterior, according to a new study that finds too much sitting makes for a fatter tush.
Jan Scherders/moodboard/Corbis

Normally, it's wise to sit down when you're about to hear bad news. In this case, you might want to stand up. New research from Tel Aviv University suggests that spending too much time seated can make your rear-end grow larger. Here, a brief guide to the disturbing findings:

Sitting makes your butt big?
Yes, according to the study, which was recently published in the journal Cell Physiology. The researchers concluded that the pressure placed on the buttocks and hips from too much sitting or lying down can generate significant fat build-up in those areas. "Obesity is more than just an imbalance of calories," professor Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv University tells Britain's Telegraph.

How did the researchers figure this out?
They examined MRI images of muscles in people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, and noticed that fat had built up in the spots taking the most pressure from sitting or lying down. Next, researchers tried to mimic the process in the lab, stretching and pressing fat cells over extended periods. After two weeks, they measured the liquid fat produced by the cells, and found they generated nearly 50 percent more than fat cells that aren't being smashed and stretched. Cells respond to their environment, Gefen says, and when fat cells are squished they "produce more triglycerides (the major form of fat stored in the body), and at a faster rate."

So should I stop sitting down?
It might be wise to get up from the desk or couch every now and then. Because "even those who eat well and exercise can suffer the consequences of a bigger butt and waistline," says Lara Salahi at ABC News, "if they stay seated for longer periods of time."

Sources: ABC News, Gawker, Huffington Post, Telegraph

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week