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Even Frequent Exercisers Are At Risk For Workplace Weight Gain

Posted Jan 14 2011 12:00am
Think your vigorous morning gym session is enough to keep you healthy? Think again. Although formal exercise plays an important role in the prevention of chronic disease, recent studies reveal that sitting for long periods of time may negate many of the benefits of that morning workout.

Researchers gave participants of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey accelerometers which tracked both the frequency and intensity of their movements over the course of a week. Next, investigators measured waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes markers – namely, levels of triglycerides, plasma glucose, and insulin. The results were clear. Regardless of moderate or even vigorous exercise outside of the workplace, subjects who sat for extended periods of time had larger waist sizes and elevated levels of blood fats compared to those who moved frequently throughout the day. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the healthiest subjects were those who engaged in both formal workout sessions and intervals of moderate activity during the typical 9-to-5 workday.

These findings do not mean a regular exercise regimen is worthless; it just serves as a reminder that sedentary office workers would be wise to step up the physical activity within their day-to-day routines.

Some suggestions
1. Park further away from the office to squeeze in extra walking time each day.
2. Stand up every hour and march in place for a minute.
3. Drink water and take frequent bathroom breaks (despite funny looks from coworkers).
4. Start an office wellness challenge that includes lunchtime walking sessions.
5. Find any and all opportunities to stand, walk, and move.
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