Are You an Active Couch Potato?

[image by Marcel ter Bekke via The NY Times]

New research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that even for those who exercise on a regular basis, prolonged periods of inactivity and sitting can result in a number of negative side effects.

From the NY Times Well Blog:

"There was, in fact, virtually no difference in how much time people spent being couch potatoes on the days when they exercised compared with days when they did not. On nonexercise days, about 72 percent of volunteers’ waking time, or about nine hours, was spent sitting.

When they formally exercised, volunteers used about 13 percent more energy over all than on days they didn’t exercise. But they still sat 68 percent of the time.

Surprisingly, how much people exercised or what kind of exercise they chose did not change sitting time. Whether volunteers worked out for less than an hour or for more than 90 minutes, they spent an equivalent amount of time the rest of the day being mostly torpid physically.

"…Of course, exercise remains valuable, she and Dr. Dunstan are both quick to add. It reduces risks for cardiovascular disease and other conditions and burns calories.

But exercise paired with otherwise unalloyed sitting should be avoided, Dr. Dunstan says. ‘It is important the general public become more conscious about what they do in their nonexercise time,’ he says. Almost everybody, he says, ‘should look for opportunities to reduce their daily sitting time and move more, more often, throughout the day.’”

The takeaway: Be as active as you can, as often as you can!

Besides regular exercise, what are some of the little things that you do on a daily basis to make sure you are staying active throughout the day?