WChicken You have a million things on your plate and it’s okay to sweat one Among them—it’s easy (and even natural) to check out that run or barre class early in the morning and not think twice about it. But new research indicates that people who work for 30 minutes a day and then are stuck at their desk for 10 to 12 hours are what researchers call “active couch potatoes,” or people who think they’re fit but actually face some major health risks.
Research, published The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports Medicine, looked at seven consecutive days of data from 3,702 46-year-olds in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort wearing hip accelerometers. The researchers wanted to understand how specific exercise patterns affected participants’ cardiometabolic health, which took into account the combined health risks associated with body mass index (BMI), blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and a history of cardiovascular disease.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers were able to divide the participants into four categories: active couch potatoes, sedentary light movers, sedentary exercisers and movers. In each, 1,173 “active couch potatoes” who exercised briefly before working 10 to 12 hours a day had increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels (two precursors to heart disease and stroke). Meanwhile, the “movers” who worked out for about an hour to two hours a day, along with light movement, had the best cardiorespiratory indices.
“[This is an] “Interestingly dope study because most studies in the past have only looked at activity tracking, this study looked at pure movement,” said Maillard Howell, head of fitness at Reebok. NEAT and non-exercise movement.”
NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, refers to the energy required to do anything other Apart from sleeping, eating or exercising. “The benefit of that extra non-exercise activity was about 80 to 90 minutes per day. So think, hoofing the train in the morning, walking to the coffee cart in the afternoon, or taking the stairs,” Howell says.
If you’re currently part of the “active couch potato” group, know that you’re not alone. “It’s fairly common,” Howell says. “I’ve trained professionals over the years, from writers, administrative staff, and corporation execs who, for the most part, spend most of their day sitting before or after seeing me for their training sessions.” He adds that depending on your job, you may have a minimal chance of bleeding. For example, if you are a secretary, a bank teller, or an Uber driver, it may be more difficult to find NEAT in your daily life.
Howell’s recommendation? Try your best. “Take your NEAT up the stairs, go for a brisk walk after your lunch and dinner, or do some light stretching at your desk,” he says. “These are the ones I do myself every day to maximize the benefits of my actual 30-minute workout.” Even if that means doing a few push-ups during bathroom breaks, know that you’re taking giant steps toward taking care of yourself.