Swap Your Excuses for a Slimmer Waistline

Happy Friday, everyone!

While pondering what kind of workout I should write about today, I suddenly realized that it doesn’t matter!  My Fitness Friday posts include a variety of workouts that can all be done in around 15 minutes, and 15 minutes of something is better than 15 minutes of nothing in so many ways. Here are just a few:

1. Sitting Can Kill You – For the past several years, articles about the deadly effects of sitting have been everywhere.  Just a couple of days ago, the New York Times published another one, this time citing evidence which demonstrated a causal (rather than merely associative) link between sitting and higher mortality.  Just standing up every 20 to 30 minutes is enough to disrupt the metabolic processes that can cause these ill effects, but walking around or doing a few deep knee bends or arm circles is even better.

2. Lose 3 to 13 Pounds of Fat – Using my favorite walk/run calorie calculator, I determined that if a 150-pound individual walked at a snail’s pace 2.0 MPH for 15 minutes on her/his lunch break each work day, (s)he would burn 11,250 extra calories, or the equivalent of 3.2 pounds, per year. (I even factored in two weeks of vacation!)  If that same individual upped the intensity and jogged at 6.0 MPH for 15 minutes each work day, (s)he  would burn 45,500 calories over the course of the year – that’s 13 pounds!

3. Reverse Muscle Loss and Metabolic Decline – Adults over the age of 30 begin naturally losing, rather than gaining, muscle mass. After 40, the average amount of muscle mass lost is around eight percent per decade. Lost muscle mass translates to reductions in strength and functionality, as well as a slower metabolism, and subsequent weight gain. Fortunately, regular exercise can significantly slow, stop or even reverse this process. Resistance training is best for building and keeping lean muscle mass, but even older endurance athletes were found to have more muscle mass than their sedentary counterparts. It doesn’t take hours in the gym, either. Performing one or two strength training circuits that target the major muscle groups two or three times per week is all you need.  That’s only about 45 to 90 minutes per week – a very small time commitment for something with such huge positive benefits.

So, no matter what you do today, do something! Walk slowly around your office; do a few chair squats or wall sits; meet a friend for a game of racquetball or a bike ride after work; lift some dumbbells, use resistance bands or do some good old-fashioned calisthenics.  Just get moving and turn those excuses into a fitter, more functional you!

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