How to Burn Calories by Sitting Less and Moving More

Set of StairsYou’ve prob­a­bly heard it more than once, “for bet­ter health, exer­cise!”  But who has the time?   You wish you could fit in the rec­om­mend­ed 30 min­utes or even one hour of exer­cise a day, but between fam­i­ly and work there isn’t enough time in the day.  It turns out you are not alone.  Accord­ing to the CDC, 40% of Amer­i­cans don’t exer­cise at all and only 11% of Amer­i­cans are cur­rent­ly exer­cis­ing at the min­i­mum rec­om­men­da­tion.

What can you do to be more active? Think small.  Instead of focus­ing on the 30 min­utes to one hour of exer­cise a day, think small­er, short­er bouts of exer­cise.  Stud­ies have found that two-fif­teen minute ses­sions of exer­cise or even three-ten minute ses­sions of exer­cise a day have sim­i­lar health ben­e­fits to work­ing out one con­tin­u­ous 30 minute ses­sion.

In addi­tion, Dr. James Levine, an obe­si­ty researcher of the Mayo Clin­ic, has been study­ing the effects of non-exer­cise type of activ­i­ties.  Non-exer­cise activ­i­ties are any type of activ­i­ties that are not planned exer­cise, such as pac­ing while talk­ing on the phone, stand­ing instead of walk­ing and so on.   He dis­cov­ered that just by increas­ing your move­ments through­out the day, you burn a sig­nif­i­cant amount of calo­ries when tal­lied up.

How can you move more through­out the day?


10 Tips to Help You Get Out of Your Chair:

1. Set your alarm 15 min­utes ear­li­er three days a week, such as Mon­days, Wednes­days and Fri­days, and take a 10–15 minute brisk walk before you start your day.

2. Park your car fur­thest away from the entrance of your job, the super­mar­ket, post office, or movie the­ater.

3. Any­time you talk on the phone, stand up and pace the dura­tion of the call.

4. Plan a 10–15 minute brisk walk dur­ing your lunch break.

5. Always take the stairs instead of the ele­va­tor.

6. If you sit at a desk or com­put­er all day, get up at least every half hour and stretch.

7. If you take pub­lic tran­sit, get off the bus or sub­way one stop ear­li­er and walk the rest of the way.

8. If you take your child to sports prac­tice, instead of sit­ting on the side lines, take a walk around the field.

9. Sched­ule a 10–15 minute walk right after work, either at your job or in your neigh­bor­hood-before you start din­ner or start run­ning errands.

10. Take a short walk after din­ner with your fam­i­ly or friends.







Ref­er­ences: Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Nutri­tion. Long ver­sus Short bouts of Exer­cise on fit­ness and Weight Loss in Over­weight Females. Schmidt et al. 2001. Accessed on July 26, 2011.

Grady, Denise. May 25, 2005. New Weight-Loss Focus: The Lean and the Rest­less. New York Times. Accessed on July 29, 2011.


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