A study examining the amount of time spent exercising recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings shocked even the researchers. After tracking 2,600 people for two years, the researchers found the following:
Men and women of normal weight exercised vigorously (defined as fat-burning activity like jogging) for a mere two minutes per day.
Women who are considered obese engage in vigorous exercise for an average of 11 seconds per day. This totals about 1 hour for an entire year. For obese men, the total was only 3.6 hours per year.
With an estimated two out of every three people in the U.S. considered overweight or obese, these findings suggest serious trouble for the long-term health of the country and the costs associated with obesity-related conditions.
The lead researcher, Edward Archer, told HealthDay that they “didn’t realize we were that sedentary.” But it turns out that many of us are living “from one chair to another,” Archer said.
A sedentary lifestyle can create a vicious cycle of inactivity and weight gain that then leads to chronic diseases and other physical problems. It then can become difficult to be active and lose weight. As Archer explained:
“We’ve engineered physical activity out of our daily lives and that’s causing the health disparities that we have in this country. How you spend your day determines whether you store your food as fat or store your food in your muscle, healthfully.”
But as Archer also said, people can make a significant impact on their health with limited movement:
“Standing rather than sitting, walking rather than taking your car, they have huge impacts on your health over time.”
Our days have become structured around sitting – from commutes to the office and back on the couch. But we can break out of that cycle with active working solutions such as standing and treadmill desks. The results of this study and many others that we have seen remind us here at Rebel Desk why changing the way we work is so important.