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Workplace Weight Loss

Posted Apr 12 2010 4:09am

Office work has always been considered sedentary and therefore causes workers to put on the pounds.  What if you were able to lose weight at those “desk jobs?”

 Dr. James A. Levine and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic performed a small study with 18 Minneapolis office workers. The result was a total of 156 pounds lost in 6 months! Dr. Levine’s approach focused on “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT. This is the natural burning of energy that occurs with everyday movements like standing, moving, bending, turning, etc.  According to Levine, minor lifestyle changes can boost your daily NEAT by 20%.

 In the study, typical desks were exchanged for a desk attached to a treadmill and walking tracks were installed around the perimeter of the office space so meetings can be held while walking.  This activity is not considered exercise, but falls into the NEAT category due to the slower pace and amount of energy use. Other changes in the office included mobile headsets for phones, space for games like the Wii and nutritional counseling was provided.

The average weight loss was 9 pounds each with 90% of the weight lost being fat loss. The employee’s triglyceride levels also decreased by 37%.  Of the employees who wanted to lose weight, the average weight loss was 15.5 pounds.

In addition to the positive health effects for the individual employees, the company also benefitted.  Workplace productivity actually increased and after 3 months corporate revenue had increased by 10%.

The study was very small and is awaiting publication.  What it proves, though, is all extra activity counts! You do not need to go to a gym for hours to burn calories.  An extra 100-150 calories per hour can be burned by incorporating physical activity into your work routine. 

So, talk to your bosses, managers, and business owners about incorporating some of these small changes at your workplace.  Both you and your employer will benefit!

 If you are looking for more tips about Heart Healthy Lifestyles visit our website www.heart-strong.com and check out our books “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart”


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