In the battle of the bulge, it’s not just getting exercise that matters — what you do when you’re not formally working out counts, too.
Research shows that even getting 30 minutes of focused exercise a day may not be enough to ward off health woes if most of your leisure time is spent sitting.
Whether you’re watching TV, reading or enjoying family game night, being sedentary is tied to obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar — all risk factors for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
The same is true if you have a sedentary job, whether you’re an office worker or a long-haul truck driver — the more you sit, the higher your risks. Prolonged sitting with little muscle movement seems to turn off a molecule that helps use fat for energy, slowing your metabolism.
The link between obesity and sitting is of particular concern for black women. According to one study, those who sat for more than 30 minutes a day at work were far more likely to be obese than those who sat for 30 minutes or less.
But there are steps you can take to reduce health threats like obesity. People who sit less and do more light activity lower their risk of chronic illnesses.
To take this twofold approach of sitting less and moving more at work, take frequent 5-minute walks around the office and stand up at your desk whenever possible. At home, engage in more light-activity pursuits like gardening, playing catch with your kids, or giving Rover the longer walk he wants.
It takes effort to resist plopping down on a cushy sofa to unwind after a long day at work. So find simple ways to move more, like walking in place during TV commercials and playing exergames that get you moving rather than traditional video games.
Get everyone in the family to move with you, yes even the kids, and everyone will reap the health benefits.
The American Heart Association lists many different activities to do at home, at work and at play that will help you move more.