Are You an Active Couch Potato?

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April 4, 2012 by Danielle

Sitting’s going to kill you.

Okay, okay, I’m being a bit dramatic but it seems each day, more and more scientists, reporters and bloggers are shedding light on the deleterious effects of  sitting for extended amounts of time.

For instance, there was this super scary infographic that appeared on Buzzfeed

Everything about this scares me (Click to Enlarge)

Click on the image to see all of the info, but I’ll basically sum it up simply-Cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression, OH MY!

A few days ago Archives of Internal medicine published an article that reported the average adult spends 90 (yes, you read that correctly) percent of their leisure time sitting, which increases the risk of health related problems including obesity and cardiovascular disease by up to 15 percent.

Of course as a relatively active and fidgety person, who unfortunately has a desk job, I thought I was immune to the effects of sitting.

Well, according to a recently published Finnish study, it’s not that simple.

A recent New York Times article detailed the study, which examined the muscle activity patterns of active people on days when they exercised and days they did not exercise. Contrary to researchers’ predictions, the study found that there was hardly any difference between the volunteers’ time spent on the couch and time spent being active on workout and non-workout days. Volunteers spent about 72 percent of their waking hours being inactive on non-exercise days, versus 68 percent of waking hours being inactive on exercise days. Regardless of the intensity, type or length of exercise the results remained the same.

So, yeah.

But of course this doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel on exercise!  Keep exercising and employ a few of these helpful tips  keep you moving throughout your day:

  • Make office visits-Instead of e-mailing a co-worker, walk over to their desk to chat-they’ll probably appreciate seeing your pretty face too.
  • Get outside-Take quick walking trips outside for a mental and physical break. Added bonus: Research shows that that taking a walk can help curb food cravings.
  • Stand When You Can-As is the case with any extreme, sitting or standing all day doesn’t do a body good either, but alternating between sitting and standing helps to activate different muscle groups and keeps muscles from getting too fatigued.
  • Office friendly flexing- There are loads of non-awkward ways to sneak in a bit of activity at the office. Try tricep dips at your desk or squats while you wait for your lunch to heat up. Skimble, a free iPhone/Android app, even created a silent office workout to do in your cube. 
  • Office friendly leg lifts.


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