Ahhh the frustrations of living a fit and healthy life. I already referred to an article suggesting that if you exercise, there is a good chance you will GAIN weight…because you will be hungrier—and eat more—after all that calorie burning. Now here are excerpts from a New York Times article by Olivia Judson suggeting that even though you exercise daily, you can still gain weight if you mostly sit the rest of the day. What a battle for those trying to lose a few pounds…

It doesn’t matter if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting—in your car, your office chair, on your sofa at home—you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death. In other words, irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.

That, at least, is the conclusion of several recent studies. Indeed, if you consider only healthy people who exercise regularly, those who sit the most during the rest of the day have larger waists and worse profiles of blood pressure and blood sugar than those who sit less. Among people who sit in front of the television for more than three hours each day, those who exercise are as fat as those who don’t: sitting a lot appears to offset some of the benefits of jogging a lot…

For many people, weight gain is a matter of slow creep—two pounds this year, three pounds next year. You can gain this much if, each day, you eat just 30 calories more than you burn. Thirty calories is hardly anything—it’s a couple of mouthfuls of banana, or a few potato chips. Thus, a little more time on your feet today and tomorrow can easily make the difference between remaining lean and getting fat…

…But it looks as though there’s a more sinister aspect to sitting, too. Several strands of evidence suggest that there’s a “physiology of inactivity”: that when you spend long periods sitting, your body actually does things that are bad for you…

…a study of people who sit for many hours found that those who took frequent small breaks—standing up to stretch or walk down the corridor—had smaller waists and better profiles for sugar and fat metabolism than those who did their sitting in long, uninterrupted chunks.

Some people have advanced radical solutions to the sitting syndrome: replace your sit-down desk with a stand-up desk, and equip this with a slow treadmill so that you walk while you work. (Talk about pacing the office.) Make sure that your television can only operate if you are pedaling furiously on an exercise bike. Or, watch television in a rocking chair: rocking also takes energy and involves a continuous gentle flexing of the calf muscles. Get rid of your office chair and replace it with a therapy ball: this too uses more muscles, and hence more energy, than a normal chair, because you have to support your back and work to keep balanced. You also have the option of bouncing, if you like.

Or you could take all this as a license to fidget.

But whatever you choose, know this. The data are clear: beware your chair.