In the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, thereís an Australian study that looked at the amount of time workers sat at desks and whether it had a relationship to weight.
It seems that sitting at a desk for long periods of time Ė in this case, at least 6 hours a day Ė is associated with being overweight or obese, but only in men. Thatís right. Not in women.
The researchers’ conclusion was that the work environment may ďplay an important role in the growing problem of overweight and obesity.Ē
But one thing thatís interesting was the fact that, on average, men sat for 20 minutes MORE than women. Is it possible that even this small difference in movement could account for fewer overweight women in the study? Iím not convinced, because thereís no indication that the study looked at food consumption or caloric intake. Itís possible that the women were controlling their food intake in order to more or less maintain their weight, and the men may not have been. And outside activity is not taken into account either.
Maybe these comments are nit-picky. We all know that we have to control our intake and increase our exercise. But this item, combined with the recent study from the Mayo Clinic that fidgety people tend to be thinner than non-fidgety people (see JuJuís Fidget, Gidget from February 2005) strongly suggest that movement counts, no matter what it is.
Thereís an important lesson here, that the little things add up. We agree that those little bites and tastes add up, but how often do we stop and consider that each MOVEMENT burns a calorie? And how many times have we heard that we should exercise to relieve stress or boredom, instead of eating? Maybe we donít have to work up a sweat. Maybe instead of stress or boredom eating, we could just, hmmm, tap our foot? Jiggle a leg?
Just do SOMETHING that makes a muscle move. Well, not the muscles we use for chewing!