10 Benefits of Low-Level Physical Activity from 10 Benefits of Low-Level Physical Activity

10 Benefits of Low-Level Physical Activity

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10 Benefits of Low-Level Physical Activity

“As we all prepare to make, arguably, a few unattainable New Year’s resolutions, let’s stop for a moment to rethink things. Weight loss and time spent at the gym are definitely keepers, but we shouldn’t forget that there are many benefits to adding more low-level physical activities throughout our day too; activities that are also highly beneficial to our health,” Carrie Schmitz, certified health coach and Senior Manager of Human Factors and Ergonomics Research at Ergotron, says. “Low-level physical activities, or “non-exercise” movements, such as leisurely walking, stretching and even fidgeting, have a more positive impact to wellness than most realize.” They are also easy to incorporate into daily life.

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Reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome

“It takes only 20 minutes in any fixed position for your metabolism to crawl to a stop,” Carrie Schmitz, certified health coach and Senior Manager of Human Factors and Ergonomics Research at Ergotron, says. “It is important to get up and move about to keep your metabolism going strong.”

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Supports cardiovascular health

Research suggests that prolonged sedentary behavior – whether that's time spent watching TV, working or driving – can lead to greater risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack,” Schmitz says. “Those who are sedentary for 23 hours a week have a 64% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.” Incorporate more low-level activity into your day to help curb this risk.

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Boosts energy

“Alternating periodically between sitting and standing, which we call the Sit-Stand Switch, will boost your energy during the day,” Schmitz says. “More than a third (37%) of employees reported high levels of energy in the middle of the day (representing an 11% increase) when incorporating small and frequent movements into the workday for three months.” Schmitz recommends changing postures about every 30 minutes.

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Improves productivity

Schmitz says that “when you increase low-level activity, you are increasing your oxygen intake, which helps boost brain function and productivity.” She explains that research has shown using a sit-stand desk in the workplace can increase productivity by 46 percent.

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Burns calories

“The benefits are clear – after a year of standing just three additional hours each day one can burn up to 30,000 extra calories, equating to eight pounds of fat – about the same you’d burn running 10 marathons,” Schmitz says.

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Improves mood states

“People who incorporate more low-level activities into their day are more likely to see increases in their mood states,” says Schmitz. Even individuals who suffer from chronic depression saw relief, she adds.

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Tones muscles

“Standing up actually tones muscles and relieves pressure from targeted areas of the body,” Schmitz says. Fun science fact: When standing, an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is found in muscles and breaks down fat in the bloodstream, is 10 times more active, she adds.

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Reduces risk of diabetes

Studies have shown a strong correlation between being sitting and diabetes,” Schmitz explains. “As the rate of those affected with Type 2 diabetes continues to increase, standing up can aid in reducing that risk.”

*Related: Diet Changes That Might Reduce Your Risk for Diabetes

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Fights against sitting disease

“Coined by the scientific community, the term “Sitting Disease” is commonly used when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle,” Schmitz says. “Poignant when we learn that the average American sits for 7.7 hours a day.”

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Improves posture

“Significant studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time has damaging effects on the spine, leading to poor posture and a number of other implications,” says Schmitz. Sitting and slouching actually puts more pressure on the spine than standing!”

10 Benefits of Low-Level Physical Activity