Archive for the tag - sedentary

Is Your iPhone Making You Fat?

iphone5Is your iPhone making you fat?

The answer is maybe – at least, according to a new study by researchers from the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University.

For the study, 300 college students were surveyed on cell phone usage and then assessed for fitness levels and body composition. Researchers found that participants who spent a large amount of time on their cell phones (as much as 14 hours per day!) were less fit than participants who averaged 90 minutes or less on their phones.

According to one participant:

Now that I have switched to the iPhone I would say it definitely decreases my physical activity because before I just had a Blackberry, so I didn’t have much stuff on it. But now, if I’m bored, I can just download whatever I want.

Of course, cell phones are more than phones; they’re used for gaming, messages, videos, music, emails, photography… and the list goes on. But unlike a television, cell phones are mobile – which means you can use your phone while engaged in other active activities. For example, listening to music while on a hike.

Even so, it appears that cell phone use may be a contributing factor to sedentary lifestyles. Or else, people with already sedentary lifestyles spend a lot of time with their cell phones. It’s a bit like asking which came first: The chicken or the egg?

Regardless, all of us could spend a little less time on our phones and a lot more time being healthy and active. But first, download the Davey Wavey Fitness iPhone app for guilt-free cell phone usage. 🙂

New Study: Longer Commutes Hazardous to Your Health.

A new study published in the June issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that longer commutes may be hazardous to your health.

The study evaluated commuting distances for 4,297 Texans, and then compared the distances to various health factors. Researchers found that longer commutes were associated with decreased physical activity, poorer heart health, greater body fat percentages, higher waist circumferences and elevated blood pressure.

The theory is that increased commuting time means less time to spend exercising or engaged in other physical activities. However, even after adjusting for the variable of exercise, commuters still had larger waists and higher percentages of body fat. In other words, commuting may lead to a lowering of one’s overall energy expenditure.

Researchers also speculate that longer commutes may be associated with higher blood pressure due to the stress of driving in traffic.

Commuting is just one of the many contributing factors to a sedentary lifestyle – and this new study reiterates the importance of time management and the prioritization of physical activity, personal wellness and exercise. Perhaps this study can be a great way to start a conversation with your boss about the possibility of working from home a few days per week?

Is The TV The Center of Your Home?

Yesterday, I shared two interesting studies linking TV ownership and “screen time” to heart attacks and premature death. The link isn’t so much with the television itself; instead, it’s the sedentary lifestyle that TV watching helps to support.

When I graduated university and moved to Washington, DC, television wasn’t a priority. Because money was tight, I wasn’t interested in paying a monthly cable bill. Instead of watching TV, I engaged in a number of activities that greatly improved the quality of my life – like reading books, going on adventures and taking yoga classes.

In 2009, I finally cracked and bought a TV. But in placing the screen in my home, I was certain of one thing: I wouldn’t make it a focal point.

In so many homes, clusters of chairs and couches surround television sets in the same way that benches and stools once surrounded campfires. Or, the way that pews might surround an altar. The focus of the room – and in some cases the entire home – is the almighty television set. That’s not for me.

In my home, the television is more of an afterthought than a focal point.

In my home, the television is more of an afterthought. My living room is furnished to support conversation and face time. The seats face each other – not a screen. In fact, there’s really no good seat from which to view the television. And I like it that way.

Let’s be real: Televisions aren’t going anywhere. I don’t think it’s realistic or wise to wage a crusade against something that some few of us are willing to throw away. But, simply by shifting the way we organize and furnish our homes, we’re able to lessen the role that the TV plays in our lives. Instead of building homes that encourage sedentary lifestyles, we can use design to help facilitate the things we really value. Like each other, and our health.

ATTN Couch Potatoes: Television Ownership Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Attack.

Calling all couch potatoes...

In building a healthy lifestyle for you and your loved ones, would you consider throwing out the television? According to a new global study published in the European Heart Journal, simply owning a television and a car increases your risk of a heart attack by 27%.

Of course, the television and car – in and of themselves – aren’t to blame. Instead, it’s the sedentary lifestyle that both instruments serve to support. Televisions and cars are markers of sedentary lifestyle.

One can assume that without a television, individuals spend increased leisure time in other activities like walking, hiking, sports, etc. Similarly, without a car, people spend more time traveling on foot or biking. These instances of physical activity help improve cardiovascular function and serve to lower the risk of heart attack.

In a separate, soon-to-be-published study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers measured the impact of television and computer “screen time” on heart disease and premature death. They concluded that “people who spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen – primarily watching TV – are more likely to die of any cause and suffer heart related problems.”

In fact, spending 2 – 4 hours a day in front of a screen increased mortality by 48%. Spending 4 or more hours increased the mortality rate by a shocking 125%. Moreover, the associations were independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, social class, exercise, etc.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise every adult to get at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week, but the European Heart Journal study suggests that cardiovascular benefits can be reaped even at lower levels.

The bottom line: To support a healthy lifestyle, minimize sedentary time and maximize your active time – even if it’s just a few extra minutes a day of movement. And turn off that TV!

How to Get Your Boyfriend to Work Out: 5 Tips.

Dear Davey,

I go to the gym a lot and enjoy staying active. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a couch potato. While I love him the way he is, I really think hitting the gym could benefit him. How can I get him to exercise?

From,
Casey

Hey Casey,

The funny thing about changing other is that it’s nearly impossible; people only change when they’re ready. It takes tons and tons of energy and effort to try and bend someone to our will – and, ultimately, I think that energy is better served is other endeavors.

Having said that, if your boyfriend seems open to exercise, I do have a few tips to help cultivate his inner Arnold:

  1. Lead by example. Inspire your boyfriend to exercise by being a role model. Through your own active and healthy lifestyle, demonstrate the amazing exercise benefits that you enjoy.
  2. Plan fitness dates. Who says date night needs to be dinner and a movie? One of my favorite date ideas is going climbing at a rock gym. It fosters great communication and team work – and it’s fantastic exercise. If your boyfriend enjoys it, he’ll probably want to go back. Sometimes you just need to find the type of exercise that he enjoys. You could also try gymnastics, tennis, swimming, spinning, hiking, yoga or any other activity.
  3. Pin it on Fido. If you have a dog, start taking more frequent walks. Eventually, you can make it a habit. Even an afternoon walk, when done over and over again for many months, can make a big difference.
  4. Use positive reinforcement. A lot encouragement goes a long way. After engaging in exercise with your significant other, compliment him on his progress, increased energy levels, etc.. Flattery can work wonders.
  5. Give him the gift of fitness. For a lot of people, the biggest exercise barrier is not knowing what to do. For a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift, book him a few sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer can show him the ropes and help create a plan tied to his goals.

Using these tips, you may be able to inspire your boyfriend to live a more active lifestyle. But you may not. While it’s very difficult to try and change others, it’s much easier to change ourselves. If your boyfriend wants to be sedentary, ask yourself if it’s something you can learn to accept.

Love,
Davey

FTD: Jersey Shore IS Actually Killing You.

On Jersey Shore, they like to say “FTD”, an abbreviation for “fresh to death”. Translated from Jersinglish, it means that you always have the latest gear, newest shoes and hottest clothes – and that you will until you die. But as it turns out, your impending death may be sooner than you think thanks to the likes of your favorite television shows.

A 2010 research study conclusively linked TV watching to increased mortality rates. How bad is it?

People who watched four hours of TV a day were 80% more likely to die of heart disease than people who watch 2 hours or less. But it doesn’t end there – those people who watched four hours a day of TV were also 46% more likely to die from any cause over the lesser watching counterparts.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. People who watch excessive television are more likely to live inactive, sedentary lifestyles. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

If you feel like sitting back on the couch, get up and move instead. Or – if you want to kill two birds with one stone, watch TV while exercising. Even if you can’t get out of your house to the gym, jump rope during commercial breaks or do some jumping jacks. Get your heart pumping and the blood flowing.

Now we know what we all suspected – that Jersey Shore is, in fact, deadly. Looks like we’ve got ourselves “a situation”.