Healthy Byte: The Fitness Cliff

What New Year’s resolution? (Photo: Getty Images)

The start of a new workout plan starts with a burst of energy: You hit the gym thinking, “Yeah, I got this! Bring it!” But after a few weeks, the initial excitement starts to fizzle. Be honest: Have you even thought about your New Year’s resolution lately?

Turns out, there’s a specific day when this waning motivation starts to happen. Today, Feb. 10, is the day gym check-ins begin to steadily decline — known as the “fitness cliff” — according to an analysis of check-in data from corporate Gold’s Gym locations across the United States.

There are a few reasons motivation starts to wane in February. “People think of ‘motivation’ as a strategy, but really it’s an emotional state,” explains Jessi Kneeland, certified personal trainer and founder of Remodel Fitness. And since motivation is an emotion, ultimately it’s a fleeting feeling, she says.

“Motivation tends to be high around New Year’s, because people get filled with hope and excitement and visions of ‘a new me!’ They ride that emotional state until it ends, which is … usually right about now,” Kneeland tells Yahoo Health.

In addition, a visible change in your body takes time. It’s easy to think “this isn’t working” and quit. “Most of us don’t structure exercise to fold into the habit cycle of our psychology,” Emmett Williams, president of the heart-rate-tracking system MYZONE, tells Yahoo Health. “We don’t reward ourselves quickly enough, and the payoff — weight loss in three months, lower blood pressure in six months — is just too far away for it to be motivating,” Williams says.

So how do you keep from falling off the fitness cliff? “Today is the day when you have the choice to make it or break it,” strength expert Holly Perkins, CSCS, creator of The GLUTES Project, tells Yahoo Health. “The difference between success and failure here is simply action,” she says. “Don’t think about it, just go to the gym. Don’t negotiate, just do your workout!”

If the “just do it” philosophy still isn’t enough to get you moving today, tomorrow, and all month long, bookmark these tips from five top fitness experts.

How to Avoid the Fitness Cliff and Stay Motivated to Work Out

The expert: Nick Tumminello, CPT, strength expert and author of Building Muscle and Performance

The advice:

  • Be honest with yourself. Most people start off doing too much because they’re so motivated, but it’s unrealistic and unsustainable. For example, if you hate getting up early and are the type of person who hits snooze until they absolutely have to get up, it’s unrealistic to say “I’ll get up two hours early to work out and shower.” You’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, look at your history of behavior and find what’s most realistic — not necessarily what you’d like to do or what you think is ideal.
  • Do something that you like. We all know exercise is medicine, but we don’t like to take medicine when it doesn’t taste good. If you like weight machines, use machines. If you hate machines, don’t use machines. Make the medicine taste good.

The expert: Jessi Kneeland, certified personal trainer and founder of Remodel Fitness

The advice:

  • Acknowledge that motivation is an emotional state and thus, by definition, a fleeting plan. Have compassion for yourself when you run out of motivation. It was nice, but it was never meant to last, so don’t let yourself feel guilt or shame when it’s gone.
  • Put into place a real plan by looking at your goals and working backward to break it into daily tasks. For example, if your goal was to be able to run three miles nonstop, instead of running whenever you’re motivated, work out how long it would take you to build up to your goal if you consistently run three days a week.
  • Be generous with your plan; make it easier than you think you need. Set yourself up to experience tiny victory after tiny victory. Feeling like a success will help you stay in a long-term state of motivation.

The expert: Mike Ryan, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute expert trainer

The advice:

  • Add some “class” to your routine. Whether it’s functional training like TRX or moving to the beat with a Zumba class, group exercise is a great way to inject some energy into a stale routine and will help you with your pledge to get back in shape.
  • Enlist a trainer. Even if it’s just for a few sessions, working with a certified personal trainer who can design a program that’s tailored to your body is the big step to transforming your body and reaching your goals

The expert: Adam Rosante, celebrity trainer and author of The 30-Second Body

The advice:

  • Find a deeper reason to work out. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a hot body, but your impulse to sit on the couch and binge watch a season of Empire is going to overrun your six-pack fantasies. Ask yourself why it’s important to work out. Once you have an answer, ask why again. Repeat that five times and you’ll come up with something truly impactful. Now you have real ammo to help you get your butt up and moving.
  • Take a single step. Most people fail at their fitness goals because they try to overhaul everything at once. It’s just not sustainable. You wind up burning out and quitting completely. Take a second to evaluate your plan and focus on just one thing. Those small daily steps are what add up to massive change.
  • Just freaking do it. Sometimes the best strategies in the world fail to motivate us. Here’s where you need to force yourself to do something, however small. Ten bodyweight squats. A few jumping jacks. Whatever. You’ll find that this simple act ignites the desire for more movement.

The expert: Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer and nutritionist, author of 5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss and Never Gain It Back

The Advice:

  • Make your goals actionable. Think: Walk 10,000 steps a day, sleep at least seven hours a night. Don’t make it about a dress size or a weight.

  • Set empirical (number-based) goals so that you can actually count them and push yourself to hit that number. For example, eat protein five times a day, unplug for at least 20 minutes, or do at least five minutes of strength exercises each day.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: 8-Minute Workout ANYWHERE!

This 8-minute workout is broken down into 16 different 30-second intervals — including moves to warm you up and cool you down some. For each interval, you can take it as hard or as easy as you want. If you want to make it a true HIIT session, then really push yourself to do as many reps as you can of each move per interval. If you’re wanting to take it easier (say, you’re doing this over your lunch break and don’t have access to a shower), then take your intensity down a notch. It’s up to you! No matter how fast you do it, you’ll be working your entire body — and getting strength and cardio work in at the same time. Plus, we think it’s totally fun. And, only 8 minutes, so totally doable!

1. March in place. Think about what you want to get out of this workout today.

2. Jog in place. Think about why you’re doing this workout today.

3. Jumping jacks. Be sure to reach all the way up and touch your hands overhead.

4. Squats. If you need a refresher on proper squat form, read this. And if squats are too easy, try jump squats.

5. Mountain climbers. Really try to get your feet up and near your hands.

6. Plank on your hands. Oh, the fun is just getting started in plank.

7. Side plank to the right. If you need to drop down to a knee, that’s totally cool.

8. Side plank to the left. Again, feel free to modify down to that knee.

9. Reverse plank. Keep those hips lifted! Almost done with the planks, we swear.

10. Plank on your forearms. If you need a break, come into down dog, and then get right back in it as soon as you can.

11. Dance party. After all of those planks, you deserve a 30-second impromptu dance party, don’t ya think?

12. Forward lunges. Don’t let that knee go past your front toe for proper alignment.

13. Jumping lunges. If these are too intense, try backward lunges.

14. Burpees. You’re in the home stretch! After this, we start cooling down. So give this one your all!

15. Left to right side touches. Bring that heart rate down. Think about what you got out of your workout today.

16. Big inhales and exhales as you reach your arms over ahead and back down again. Think about your why again. And then feel really freakin’ proud of yourself.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Lose Weight for Life

There’s no fad diet or miracle pill that will change your body overnight, but losing weight is within your reach — it just might take a little longer than you’d like. Consider this: when you lose weight at a slow and healthy pace, you’ll be more likely to keep it off for good. If you’re done with the days of yo-yo dieting, these 10 tips are the emotional stepping stones to a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Start small: Chances are, if in the past, you’ve tried to change everything all at once, few of your intentions have stuck for good. The answer to staying committed for the long haul is to start small. Make one positive shift every week, instead of overwhelming yourself with a bunch of changes at once.
  2. Find out what fuels you: Whatever your true motivation is, tap into it, and use it. Is it about fitting into a ton of clothes tucked away in the back of your closet? Is it about being lighter and more active, so you can run around outside with your kids? Getting serious about your long-term goals will keep you committed to your lifestyle change.
  3. Don’t focus on deprivation: According to celebrity trainer Heidi Powell, anytime you deprive yourself of food, or of anything, “all you want is what you can’t have!” Take your mind-set away from sacrifice and start celebrating the fact that you’re cultivating a healthier, happier, more energized life.
  4. Learn to love consistency: When you have a regular mealtime schedule and fridge full of fresh produce and healthy staples, making choices that support your goals won’t feel like a constant battle. Remember, this isn’t a quick fix — this is a lifestyle change. After a few weeks, these things will feel like second nature.
  5. Find healthy foods you love: It’s true! Healthy food that supports weight loss can also be delicious! If you’ve been on a solid sugar- and salt-laden diet for years, it will take a little getting used to. But sooner than you think, those cravings start to dissipate, and clean, natural foods sound much more palatable.
  6. Seek out exercise you enjoy: Heading to the gym shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. Keep on trying new group fitness classes, cardio machines, and different styles of exercise. When you find that one activity that flies by and feels like fun, you’ll know you’ve met your match.
  7. Plan ahead for indulgences whenever possible: Occasionally enjoying a sweet treat or special meal out are essential parts of sustainable weight-loss plan. When you know you’re going to want a burger at your BBQ or an ice cream cone when you’re at the beach next weekend, keep your diet extra clean leading up to your special indulgence. It will make the whole experience that much sweeter.
  8. Have compassion for yourself: Sometimes, we’re triggered by foods around us, we haven’t planned ahead, and slipups happen. Instead of being hard on yourself after eating a food that’s “off-limits,” forgive yourself, and move on. When you treat yourself with kindness, you’ll be able to bounce back and stay on track. Let’s skip the downward spiral of a whole day (or week) filled with junk food, shall we?
  9. Keep setting new goals: As you’re evolving and progressing on your weight-loss journey, your goals have got to keep up! There’s so much to celebrate beyond that number on the scale, and setting specific and personal minigoals like training for a race (or slipping into that pair of old jeans) will help you stay connected.
  10. Picture the new you: If you’ve struggled with your weight for a long time, it can be hard to visualize a new, healthier life. You might not be able to find the words right now, but creating a tangible reminder, like a healthy vision board covered in inspirational images, will help you start to recognize what your dreams look like.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Never Too Old

NOTE: My inspiration

Ernestine Shepherd is an octogenarian bodybuilder who just won't stop inspiring. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ernestine Shepherd is an octogenarian bodybuilder who just won’t stop inspiring. (Photo: Getty Images)
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One of the world’s oldest female body builders, Ernestine Shepherd, just gained another year in what she’s called her “long happy journey” of life. Now 80, the fitness trainer, model, competitive body builder, and new author celebrated her June 16 birthday with a Facebook post declaring her continued determination, dedication, and discipline. “I am 80 years young today and I thank God for bringing me this far. I’m still determined, I’m still dedicated and I’m still disciplined to be fit!” Shepherd wrote, inspiring more 18,000 likes of encouragement.

After being named the oldest female body builder by the Guinness Book of World Records in both 2010 and 2011, Shepherd began to publicly share the story of how she came to live a life of tenacity and perseverance beginning at the age of 56. What started as a modest curiosity about working out turned into a life-changing route to happiness once her sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm, she told HooplaHa. In an attempt to fulfill the fitness goals Shepherd had created with her late sister, she developed a following and a legacy admired by people of all ages.

Shepherd celebrated her current success with the release of her book The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd, in which she writes about the secrets to her health and well-being. The book, which was released earlier this month, details the keys to her motivation, including:

(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd /Facebook)
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd /Facebook)
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  1. Age is nothing but a number.” In addition to her mantra, “Determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit,” Shepherd believes that “being out of shape as we age truly is merely an option – NOT a mandate!”
  2. Eat clean. Shepherd sticks to a daily diet of 1,700 calories, which includes egg whites, chicken and vegetables.
  3. Do the same workout every day. In an interview with Oprah, Shepherd revealed, “I do the same thing day in and day out.” This daily routine includes a workout that begins at 3 or 4am with a 10-mile run.
  4. Find what you like to do. The fitness trainer teaches classes of her own, but encourages people to exercise in whichever way they like. “Not everybody wants to be a body builder, not everybody wants to be a runner. But find what you like to do,” she told Oprah.
  5. Have something that motivates you. Although Shepherd finds strength in prayer, she says she owes most of her motivation to her late sister.
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd/Facebook)
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd/Facebook)

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Before or After Dilemma

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There are two types of exercisers in this world: those who must eat breakfast before a sweat sesh, and those that swear it’s better to exercise sans fuel. So who’s right?

To help clear the air, Kristin Speaker, Ph.D, researcher and weight loss coach at Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, Colorado, weighed in on the topic. Here’s what you need to know.

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Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat?

In short, yes. Studies have found that exercising in a fasted state can burn nearly 20 percent more fat when compared to sweating it out post-nosh.

“The fuel your body uses to burn energy is dependent on a host of factors, the first being whether or not you’ve just eaten,” says Speaker. “Your body likes to burn the fuel that you’ve eaten first. So if you don’t have any fuel because you didn’t eat (meaning you’re in a fasted state), then your body turns to what it has stored away and works to burn that.”

But it all depends on what kind of workout you’re doing. “In general, the easier the exercise, the more actual fat you’re going to burn during the workout,” she says. For example, if you go for a 30-minute walk and cover two miles at a slow, steady pace, then Speaker says you’ll torch approximately 200 calories. If you’ve been fasting, your body will likely burn body fat, because the rate of energy production (a.k.a. how hard you were working) was really low and fat was easily accessible.

On the flip side, if you go for a tough run, then your body starts to burn carbs instead of just fat. “When you go higher in intensity, your body can’t use fat fast enough, so it burns some fat and some carbohydrates,” says Speaker.

That doesn’t mean slow and steady wins, though. Remember that your body only burns more fat during the actual workout when you slow your roll. Numerous studies have shown that high-intensity interval training stokes your metabolism and keeps burning fat long after your routine is done, so depending on how hard you worked, tough sessions may win out after you hit the showers.

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But What if You’ve Got No Energy?

It’s clear that busting out cardio before breakfast can be beneficial. But what if you feel like you don’t have enough energy to exercise before you’ve eaten? Well, that’s nonsense, according to Speaker. “You have plenty of energy in your muscle and fat stores to give your body what it needs to exercise,” she says. “Your liver provides glucose for your body, and you don’t really start tapping into that until you deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles. Depending on how fed you were the day before and how trained you are, you have about an hour-and-a-half to two hours before you even dip into your liver glucose.”

In other words, you’re good to do about an hour of cardio, max, while you’re fasted, says Speaker.

Of course, if you’re upping the intensity or going any longer than that, it’s important to start fueling, perhaps with energy chews or gels. But refueling post-workout is what’s really important, so your muscles can start repairing the tiny tears they endure during exercise, says Speaker. One cool upside: Fasting primes your body for the nutrients you’re about to give it. “You’ll better absorb protein, and your body is going to know right where to put it because you’ve used energy, creating space for new energy to go in,” she says. “So protein and carbohydrates will go back into the muscles to help them refuel, as opposed to going into fat stores.”

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When It’s an Issue to Sweat Before You Eat

If you’re generally in good health, there aren’t too many downsides to consider so long as you’re doing cardio (it’s a whole different ballgame for strength training), says Speaker. The main issue: Those on a low-carb diet, like Paleo diet followers, may struggle to bust out their best cardio workout because their livers don’t have a lot of fuel readily available, and it’s likely that they’re not fully recovering in between workouts because they’re not refueling their glycogen stores, she explains. But still, that’s not a serious health threat. “You’ll just hit a wall and your body will signal you to stop,” says Speaker.

Your appetite post-workout may be affected, too. One study found that when runners hit the treadmill for an hour without eating first, they were more hungry than those who chowed down ahead of exercise.

It All Comes Down to Personal Preference

Working out in a fasted state is a big mental game, says Speaker. “If someone believes they’re going to pass out if they haven’t eaten and they really think they have to get something down before they work out, then I’m going to suggest that they eat,” she says. “It’s not that they physically need the food—they psychologically do. And that’s just as valid.”

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: New Year – Tough Love

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NOTE: I don’t personally believe in coddling but I have to  admit that this article perhaps is a bit harsh in some instances. HOWEVER, I can also relate to many of the points so I thought it would be a good share. Read on at your own risk! 😉

If there’s one thing people love doing, it’s making excuses. And if there’s one thing people hate hearing, it’s that they’re making excuses.

That’s why your friends won’t tell you you’re making excuses. They know you don’t want to hear it, and they don’t want you to be mad at them. So instead, they tell you what you want to hear: that you’re doing everything right, nothing is your fault, and success takes only the barest amount of effort.

But I’m not your friend. I’m a fitness coach on the internet, I’m not worried about you getting mad at me, and I’m kind of a jerk. So here are a few blunt truths about fitness that your friend’s will never dare to tell you.

You don’t have a slow metabolism — you’re just eating too much

Contrary to the usual talk about people having fast or slow metabolisms, metabolic rates don’t vary by all that much between individuals. In fact, there’s a pretty narrow range that your metabolic rate tends to fall into — in fact, it almost has to fall into this range. If your metabolism slowed down very much, you would simply be dead, as your body wouldn’t be working hard enough to maintain itself. Conversely, if your metabolism was much faster, you should overheat.

In fact, studies have shown that people’s metabolic rates tend to fall within about 5% of each other when you account for total lean body mass. However, overweight people typically underestimate calorie consumption and overestimate how much exercise they get- by a whopping 50% each. That’s your “slow metabolism” right there.

You don’t have a “natural” body type

When people talk about their “natural” body type, they’re referring to the body type that their genetics tend to push them toward. However, your body type is dictated by a combination of genetics, diet, exercise, and other factors such as sleep and exposure to environmental chemicals that influence hormone balance.

So then, is spaghetti and cereal your natural diet? Is sitting at a desk all day your natural lifestyle? Of course not. And there is no “natural body” type independent of diet, exercise and lifestyle. To the extent that “natural” body types are even a thing, you don’t have your natural body type unless you’re living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which you’re never going to do.

Everyone wants you to be like them

Christians want you to be a Christian. Socialists want you to be a socialist. Rap fans want you to like rap music. Cross fitters want you to like CrossFit. Thin people want you to be thin, and fat people want you to be fat.

It’s tempting, and comfortable, to associate with people who are at the same place you are- in their health, their career, their personal lives. But they’ll try to stop you from changing, because they want you to continue to be like them. It’s more challenging, but also more rewarding, to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be- people who will pull you up to their level.

Gymtimidation is real — but there’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with it

If you’ve ever watched a Planet Fitness commercial, you’re familiar with the concept of gymtimidation — the sense of intimidation that people who don’t work out regularly feel about going to the gym. Planet Fitness’s solution to this problem is to totally avoid people who are in better shape than you are and stick with other out of shape people- and I explained the problems with that in the last section.

The thing is, people who are in good shape- or successful in any other way- feel intimidated too. They just respond differently. Instead of running from intimidation, they use it to motivate themselves to try harder, and even reframe the intimidation as inspiration.

The next time you feel intimidated at the gym, you can run away to avoid that feeling. Or, you can work harder in order to look good in front of the other gymgoers (who, for the record, aren’t actually watching you). You can also remind yourself that you’ll tend to become more like the people around you, so that you stop thinking of the gym as intimidating, and start thinking of the presence of fit people as a positive that will help you get into shape yourself.

Successful people don’t want to tell you how hard they work- and that’s probably your fault

If you ask a skinny woman what her diet is, she’ll probably tell you she doesn’t really have a diet- just works out a bit, and eats whatever she wants, but makes some effort to avoid junk food. Ask a well-dressed man how he looks so good, and he’ll tell you he just puts on whatever is in his closet. Ask entrepreneurs how they became so successful, and they’ll say they just got an idea, started a business,and it took off somehow. And they’ll all be lying.

The thing is, it’s not their fault they lie. They lie because when they tell the truth, people get mad at them. Just look at the angry comments on this article about Tom Brady and Giselle Bunchden’s diet. Or this story about an entrepreneur who told people how he priorities his time- and became hated for it. People would rather hear that success comes from luck than from hard work.

The next time you hear a successful person say that they didn’t have to work very hard for their success, don’t believe them. They’re lying- not because they’re jerks, but because other people are jerks and will punish them for being honest. If you want to be in amazing shape- or successful at anything, really- you have to work pretty damned hard.

What got you here won’t get you there

I’m constantly hearing people tell me that they started a new fitness program, were excited to make rapid initial progress, but then became disappointed and lost motivation once their progress slowed down. And I hate to break it to you, but it’s to be expected that your progress will slow down over time.

The reason is that fitness exhibits diminishing returns. The better shape you get into, the slower your progress gets, and the more you have to do to make continued progress. If you’re obese, you can lose weight just by cutting out sugared beverages, and you can probably lose upwards of 20 pounds a month if you get your diet and exercise both dialed in. But if you’re in great shape, you might have to cut out almost all carbs and exercise 5 days a week just to lose the last five pounds of fat.

In other words, you should expect your progress to slow down, unless you continually up your efforts to compensate. The diet and workouts that took you from 40% to 30% body fat won’t get you to 12 percent. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the effort to get ripped, or you just want to settle for “better than average,” but it is relatively easy (physically, if not mentally) to at least not be obese.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Stand vs Sitting @Work

In one of the few studies to carefully count the calories people burn while sitting at a desk, standing, or taking a leisurely stroll, researchers found little difference between being plopped down or upright. Standing for an hour might burn off an extra nine calories or so, about the amount in a single gummy bear. Slow walking, on the other hand, incinerated 2.4 to 2.7-fold more calories than standing or sitting, respectively. If office workers fit in an hour of strolling throughout each day—tallying trips to the bathroom, walks to the printer, or strides on a treadmill desk—they could easily burn through an extra 130 calories. That’s a little more than what previous research suggests could help people keep pounds off, the authors report in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

“If you’re looking for weight control or just solely at the energy expenditure, standing isn’t that much more beneficial than sitting,” Seth Creasy, an exercise physiologist at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study, told Ars. Of course, calorie burning isn’t the only reason people might choose a standing desk. Being upright could be beneficial for productivity or posture, Creasy said. However, more research is needed to know if those benefits are real because the studies that have been done so far have come up with mixed or inconclusive results.

For energy use, though, the literature is getting pretty clear. In past studies looking into the differences between standing and sitting, researchers found small changes in calorie burning similar to those Creasy and his colleagues found. With their new study, they tried to nail those calories down for good and look at more than one single activity at a time. No one gets to the office and sits, stands, or walks for eight hours straight, Creasy explained. People switch positions, take breaks, and move around, he said.

To see if there were any effects of those shifts, Creasy and colleagues set up an experiment with activity combinations. With a total of 74 healthy volunteers, the researchers randomly assigned 18 to sit at a desk with a computer for 15 minutes then stand without fidgeting for 15 minutes. Another 18 participants sat and watched television for 15 minutes and then walked. Twenty started with slow walking—at a self-selected speed of around two and half miles per hour—and then sat and watched TV. And the last 18 stood and then sat at a desk with a computer.

During each 30-minute activity combination, the researchers had the participants fitted with face masks, which basically measured their exhaust. This allowed the researchers to precisely calculate how many calories they were burning.

The researchers were curious if the order of activities changed how much energy participants used overall. For instance, perhaps starting with a walk would rev up calorie burning in subsequent sitting. But it turns out the order doesn’t matter. There was a tiny uptick, but nothing statistically or clinically significant, Creasy said. In the other combinations, the order didn’t matter either.

In general, 15 minutes of walking burned an average of 55.9 calories, sitting with a computer burned 19.63 calories, sitting and watching TV burned 18.66 calories, and standing burned 21.92 calories. There was no statistical significance between the sitting activities and standing, the researchers noted. And even if it does result in a few extra calories burned, it’s unclear if that could result in any measurable health benefit.

Raised questions

Like all studies, this one has some limitations. The study participants were healthy and mostly lean, unlike the general population and perhaps the people most interested in using a standing desk to help lose weight. But Creasy said he expects the general findings to hold up in people who are obese. The study also had people stand or sit as still as they could, so it might not capture any significant variations resulting from fidgeting or shifting around in either scenario.

The study also doesn’t address a fundamental question in the sit vs. stand debate: are the negative health effects linked to prolonged sitting caused by the sitting itself or a lack of activity? Like prolonged sitting, a lack of exercise is also linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And earlier research has found that those who do sit for long periods but are also activedon’t face the same health risks. But other research has suggested that sitting alone can be bad, causing discomfort and poor circulation. Still, standing for long periods of time may also cause problems such as enlarged veins.

On this bigger question, “the jury is still out,” Creasy said. Researchers are looking into whether exercise can override our sedentary lifestyles, plus whether standing desks benefit productivity, comfort, and other health issues.

A few small studies have come out showing that standing desks can boost productivity, but a few others have shown that they don’t. Others are inconclusive. For instance, in a recent study on the productivity of call center workers who were assigned either standing or sitting desks, researchers found that the standers were as much as 53 percent more productive than sitters. But the study lacked baseline data of how productive each group was to start with, so the results are not conclusive. An interesting find, however, was that in surveys, the standing workers did report less back pain and discomfort than their seated counterparts.

As researchers work out which desk setup might be best, Creasy points out that moving is always a good idea. He suggests getting creative with figuring out ways to add intermittent bouts of walking into your daily routine, such as moving the printer farther down the hall or having walking meetings. He points out that benefits can be seen with just casual, slow walking. This isn’t exercise, he emphasizes.

Originally Posted HERE

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