I like to move it, move it…Do you?
You may want to stand up while you read this…
If history is any guide, next week millions of people will make a New year’s fitness resolution in an annual, usually ineffective, effort to lose weight. From Gym workouts to Yoga, from Zumba to Pilates, from Kettle bell workouts to TRX training, everyone will have a lot to ‘try’ to get back on the wagon (and money to be made in the process by the weight loss industry)
But what if you end up being an Active Couch Potato?
Well, an Active Couch Potato is the one who exercises for 30 mins or more on most days of the week, but who then sits all day watching TV or working at a desk or playing video games or simply ordering take-out and delivery, reading, shopping, banking, eating a meal at a table or navigating the stock market.
So, what’s the big deal?
Actually, the deal is much bigger than you can imagine. Fascinating new research is revealing that sitting for long hours alters our physiology in ways that prevents exercise from burning fat. The act of too much sitting blocks the normal impacts of exercise and makes our bodies exercise- resistant. Simply put, you may comply with your workout routine, but if you are sitting for long periods of time, your metabolic health is still compromised. Exercising followed by too much sitting through the day may do little to reduce risk of heart diseases, diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol etc. This is a new and challenging area for exercise science and population-health research.
These findings are also based on a study of “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT, which is the amount of calories you burn doing everything except sleeping, eating and exercise. Low NEAT is linked to, among other things, weight gain, poor metabolic health and cancer.
What’s the action plan?
Our bodies did not evolve to sit in chairs all day. Current research findings of ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) indicate that moving more during the day, in addition to getting 150mins/week of exercise, is necessary to reduce one’s risk of diseases and to lose weight.
CREATE YOUR ‘GET MOVING’ ACTION PLAN – Make your own “Get Moving” action plan to incorporate movements that effortlessly fit into your work life and daily living.
You could start with few of these-
- 2 minutes of walking for every hour of sitting is shown to help reverse its negative effects. Set a reminder on your computer or phone and take a break every hour
- Take your calls standing or walking, both at work and home
- Hold standing meetings at work. “Walk and Talk” instead of long and tiring “sit all day” meetings is also a great idea
- Use sit-stand desks to regularly break up seated-based work with active standing
- Take a walk break every time you take a coffee/ chai break (and give your phone a break too;)
- Walk to a colleagues’ desk instead of emailing or calling her/him (you will end up making few great office friends too :))
- Replace those weekend drives with weekend walks
- When watching TV, stand up/move/ stretch with every commercial break
- Play real games vs virtual with your kids 15-30 minutes a day
- Weekend activities like farming/ trekking instead of ‘chilling’ in malls not only creates more movement for entire family but also encourages the child to get connected to and stay in harmony with nature
So get moving, and stay moving!
Here’s to a fitter and healthier 2017… Happy New Year!