Monday, March 7, 2011

Sitting Negates Workout Benefits...

Think working out every day is helping if you have a desk job? Think again! A study of 4,757 adults that was just published in the European Health Journal found that sedentary employees who barely moved from their desks during working hours imperiled their health. In general, the subjects who moved the least during working hours had the most risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, while those who both moved frequently during the day and engaged in regular exercise had the least.

How does this affect you and how many breaks does it take to protect your health? The data showed that the most active subjects took up to 1,300 breaks per week, compared to only around 100 for the most sedentary. Consider that three breaks an hour in a 40-hour week only comes to 120 breaks -- and that's the lowest end of the scale. Also remember that the data shows that you can't make up for prolonged periods of inactivity by cramming it in on the weekend. Again, it's sitting for long periods of time without breaks that creates the problems, and exercise later on in the day doesn't compensate adequately.

On the other hand, the data does NOT suggest that you should run out to Starbucks for a grande concoction every 15 minutes, nor that you should give up your afternoon jog because you stood up and stretched 40 times on Tuesday. The bottom line here is that activity leads to good health, and that means activity spread throughout the day and throughout all endeavors. If you have a sedentary desk job, you need to figure out how to keep yourself moving without going so kinetic that the boss calls in the EAP folks to administer valium. And surprise, it's not as hard as you think. There are countless opportunities throughout the day.

The experts suggest standing while talking on the phone, walking over to colleagues rather than emailing them, taking the stairs and strolling the corridors. All obvious stuff, but as the chair of the American Council for Fitness & Nutrition, Susan Finn, points out, "Setting up huge goals for people to get them to devote huge blocks of time during the day to exercise just doesn't work. People won't do it. Instead, getting people to engage in purposeful activity, trying to motivate small changes, is the way to go. It's all about making this stuff, these small changes, doable for people, and the workplace is a very good example, a very good place to start.


Tune in to your body...

Your body is trying to tell you something, but you're just not listening! To win at the weight-loss game, you've got to make some changes. One of the most important ones is to stop listening to anything but your body to establish a realistic weight for your specific build. Forget about what you see and hear from pop-culture sources.

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