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If you can’t stand putting on weight, don’t sit down by Philip Hesketh

So the clocks go back this coming weekend and the dark nights will be here again.
I'm referring, of course, to the colour of the sky not an army of heroic cartoon characters marching menacingly down your street.

According to research, the end of European Summer Time means we're all now more likely to shun the gym and sit about all night on our big fat armchairs. Which is bad for your health, makes you flabby, lethargic and less attractive to the opposite sex. It makes you die sooner than you might – stop me any time, I'm depressing myself.

We all know that putting on weight can be a killer. So how come some people can ignore that advice and stay slim? Well, James Levine and his team of 'inactivity researchers' (money for nothing if you ask me) have finally come up with the proof of the pudding. A great big chocolaty one.

Their studies took place at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona - not to be confused with its much healthier sister clinic, Mayo Lite.

Incidentally, I once went there with a cut on my leg and they applied a low-calorie dressing.

Okay, enough's enough.

Importantly, the difference between the fatsos and the not-so-fatsos has less to do with exercise and more to do with movement. According to Levine, the people who get fat are those who sit around all day and hardly ever move. Although none of the people in the 'inactivity study' were allowed to do exercise, some were naturally more active. They gardened, they did housework, they took stairs instead of lifts, they walked about.

And ipso facto they became not-so-fatso.

And sitting doesn't just make you fat, it makes you ill. That's because electrical activity in the muscles drops, the muscles go silent; and that leads to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. The enzymes responsible for breaking down fat in the bloodstream stop working and that, in turn, causes the levels of good cholesterol to fall.

Feeling depressed again? Well, let me cheer you up with news of Dr. Michael Jensen's 'Motion Tracking Underwear.' Jensen's MTU device was fitted into the undergarments of volunteers.

(Imagine the chaos if they hadn't volunteered?)

About the size of a car battery and twice the weight, the MTU was imperceptible to the human eye so long as you kept your trousers on and steered clear of MOT centres. Joking apart, the patented MTU device recorded every movement of the wearer, as they walked, jogged, trotted, fidgeted, and generally gasped for breath. The result? The folk who moved about more were the ones who put on less weight. In fact, on average, they sat around for two hours less each day than those who piled on the pounds.

So keep moving. It's the best way to stay alive.