In an office environment, standing up and waking around can help mitigate the harmful effects of sitting down for extended periods of time. A study from Glasgow University (UK) suggests that it is not just the amount of time you spend standing but the number of times you stand up as well. The study revealed that male participants burned more calories and fat if they stood up more frequently for at least 90 seconds throughout the day rather those who stood for longer (e.g. 15 minutes) but who did not get up too often. The total amount of time spent standing up was the same in each case but the former burned more calories. This can be explained by the fact that each sit to stand movement (and vice versa) requires muscle activation and energy expenditure. And while standing up more frequently cannot take the place of actual exercise it does help in the fight to burn more calories.
There are other tips that help to keep one in shape during office hours. One relates to the beverages people drink. A University of Texas Health Science Centre Study revealed that diet soda drinkers could gain as much as an additional 70% weight around their girths compared with non-soda drinkers. One of the ingredients in diet soda, aspartame, is known to raise glucose levels to the point where it is converted into fat.
Often people respond to thirst by eating instead of drinking – as much as 60% of the time according to the journal Physiology & Behavior. Having a glass of water before eating can help reduce hundreds of calories on a daily basis. Adding fresh citrus can flavor the water to make it more palatable if needed. Drinking plenty of water not only hydrates the body but can also increase the metabolic rate according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Adding an extra 1.5 liters of water to your workday intake can help an individual burn an astonishing 17,400 calories a year.
Drinking green tea contributes powerfully to weight loss. It contains catechins that enhance fat oxidation. A study conducted by Taiwanese researchers on 1100 people over 10 years revealed that the regular green tea drinkers had 20% less body fat than those who didn’t drink the beverage.
Another tip sounds incredible but it apparently works according to a 2009 study published in Physiology and Behavior. Chewing gum! The study found that gum chewers were more alert and less stressed. Their levels of salivary cortisol, a stress hormone which increases fat cell and fat retention particularly around the stomach, also got reduced.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is an obvious tip which can help in losing significant amounts of weight. People can burn twice as many calories doing this than by walking. The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Centre stated that a 150 lb person could lose 6 lbs per year just by climbing up two flights of stairs per day. Walking more is a gentle and healthy form of exercise as well. A study conducted by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology discovered a two-minute walk every hour mitigates the detrimental effects of sitting down for too long, just like sitting and standing does as mentioned above.
Not everybody has the motivation or capability to workout regularly and intensively in the gym. But that is not necessary for those who do not have the inclination. The Physiological Reports journal stated that people who did five 30-second bursts of intensive cycling followed by 4 minutes of rest burned off 200 extra calories and boosted their metabolism for up to 48 hours. Running up stairs has a similar effect for people who do not have access to exercise equipment.
Using a stability ball instead of a desk chair also assists in the burning of calories and strengthens the upper core muscles of the body. Many offices may not allow or give permission to use one but if there are no objections than they provide great benefit. Sitting on them through the workday can lead to the loss of over 100 calories.
Diet of course is a vital factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health. Watching the number of calories consumed is important. A 500-calorie meal is far better all-round than a regular take-out lunch which is frequently in excess of 800 calories. It is also healthier to eat small amounts of food more frequently throughout the course of the day rather than two or three over-sized ones. One way to do this is to keep some healthy snacks at hand like raw almonds and bananas. Small amounts of chia seeds added to breakfasts and lunches provide omega 3, fiber, protein, and calcium and are easily absorbed by the body. Eating earlier rather than later in the day also makes a difference. Spanish researchers found that overweight women who ate after 3 pm lost less weight than control groups eating the same food and the same amount of calories earlier in the day. It is difficult to offer an explanation as to why this might be with regard to this study but scientists believe that people who eat later are more likely to overeat than those who eat earlier, even if they are not necessarily hungry enough to want to gorge on food.
Finally, focusing on the physical aspects of weight loss and exercise is not the complete answer in itself. Psychological well-being is part of the journey as mind and body are interlinked. Diane Robinson, a neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health, mentioned in a press release that there is “an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.” There is a connection between food and emotional well-being which is why nearly 66 % of people gain weight back after losing it. Not recognizing this can lead to failure in people’s efforts to lose weight and be healthier.