Get up and move, you lazy thing

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All together now.  Get off that sofa and park the Bon Bons.  Just walking in place during the upcoming commercial break could  be a ground breaking launch for a full fledged exercise program. (At least that’s what my friend, the Pilates instructor, tells me.)

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While you’re up, get rid of the denial and weak justification for your sedimentary winter. It is becoming more and more apparent that activity is the key to a healthy life and sitting will kill us. The latest stats support the notion that sitting can be as detrimental to our health as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day!  If you’re still sitting AND smoking you probably need to have your pulse checked because you may riding in the back of an ambulance to the funeral hone..

I not getting all preachy and holier than thou here.  I’m just trying to convince myself that it’s time to make some changes.  The long, cold, wet winter has confined me to my chair as effectively as polio.  Lolling about with a good murder mystery and a plate of brownies is how I hope I will go out when my time comes. I just don’t want it to be anytime soon.

This comes from a girl who only a year ago was walking more than four miles a day and doing some weights at my athletic club.  My last visit to the club was last May and it was like a screw driver in my side to watch them take that $35 a month until my contract expired last month.  This week I walked a mere 28 minutes Monday and Wednesday and by minute 12 I felt like I had two tree stumps for legs.  But an amazing second wind blew in and it got easier.  Today, I’m going for a whopping 35 minutes.

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In Mississippi, a staggering 65 percent of women are either overweight or obese ‘- that’s two out of three.  Which group are you in, my beautiful Southern sustahs?

One study showed that walking can be done (and be beneficial) in short 2 minute bursts in front of the TV. Assuming that people won’t stop watching TV, researchers decided to compare regular outdoor walking programs with indoor stepping sessions (walking in place) performed during commercial breaks. I don’t know if the researchers were surprised by their findings or not, but the sample was extensive and convincing: 47 overweight, sedentary subjects participated for a period of six months.

At the end of the time period, researchers saw positive benefits. Participants tended to eat less, achieved a better body fat-mass ratio and ended up with smaller waist sizes.The researchers compared those people who walk outside against people who only walking-in-place during commercials.

Participants who walked during commercials had:

1. Decreased appetite. What types of commercials do you see on TV? Often, you’ll see pizza delivery offers, fast food ads and other things that get your mouth watering (for better or worse). If you rise and walk your way through these commercials, you’ll consider them unrelated to your best interests. Participants reported significant drops in their appetite when walking during commercials.

2. Better body fat percentages. Have you been shy about taking off your clothing in summer months? Do you feel insecure about your body with your spouse? It’s normal as we get older, but sedentary lifestyles lead to poor health and an unattractive physique. Walking during commercials helped the participants lower their body fat percentages. They ended up with less flab.

3. Smaller waist sizes. The benefits of walking extend from your lower body to your torso and within your respiratory system. Both outdoor and indoor walkers ended up with smaller waist sizes at the end of the six months. When you get those hips moving, they become trimmer.

From these findings, it should be no surprise, that when you are walking, even walking in place, it is hard to chow down on potato chips. The researchers note that eating and watching TV go hand-in-hand, or they are what they call “complementary” behaviors.   Don’t I know it!

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So the next time you get the munchies, maybe you should go for a walk or if you are watching TV, walk-in-place during commercials (rather than making a dash for the refrigerator). I figure once you exert the effort to get up you might find a few other chores to tackle and before you know it, you wander outside to reintroduce yourself to the glorious, chaotic, and fascinating world outside your door.  Time is marching on, and we’d best join the passing parade.

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