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Could you be an Active Couch Potato?

Can someone exercise and still be a couch potato?  Up until recently, most of the studies on physical inactivity relied on self-reported measures but a recent Finnish study, using special shorts that can measure muscle activity, has strengthened the argument, if you sit eight or more hours per day your exercise binge might not be the sole solution.

The shorts were equipped with a special set of electrodes that were able to directly measure the muscle activity of the hamstrings and quadriceps both while exercising and when inactive.  The results showed that on days when volunteers exercised they used only about 13% more energy overall than on days they didn’t exercise.  But, surprisingly, how much people exercised or what kind of exercise they chose did not change the sitting time.  Both on the days they exercised and the ones they didn’t, they were sitting nearly 68% of the time. 

The Finnish study strengthens evidence published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine that showed even if you exercise daily, sitting more than eight hours per day increased your chance of dying prematurely by 15%. 

So, exercise paired with otherwise unalloyed sitting should be avoided.  We should be just as cognizant of our non-exercise time as we are the time spent pounding the pavement or hitting the gym.  Look for opportunities throughout your day to move more often. 

Since many of us spend our time sitting while at work, check out some of these posts for being more active at the office:

Tips for a Healthy Cubicle

Office Chair Workout

10 Minute Workout Routine

One Big Happy, Healthy Family

Scheduling Break Time

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