Struggling to keep up with those New Year’s resolutions? A new study released in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (1) may have an answer for you: stepping in place during TV commercials.
For many, this may bring up memories of Richard Simmons and Sweatin’ to the Oldies… but it works. Steeves, Thompson and Bassett (1) report that stepping in place during the commercial breaks of a one-hour TV show accumulates approximately 2000 steps and 25 minutes of physical activity, which translates to an average of 150 kcal burned!
Let’s face it – most of us watch TV at least several nights per week, and we usually snack while we do so. In our post last week, The TV and the Damage Done, we highlighted the evidence indicating just how detrimental excessive sedentary time is for our health. Stepping in place may be an option to off-set some of these negative effects and an easy and painless way to incorporate more physical activity each day.
If you were to employ this “one-hour TV show” strategy 5 – 6 nights per week, you could easily create a monthly caloric deficit of 3000 – 3600 kcal. This would amount to approximately one pound of weight loss per month and a total of 12 pounds over the course of a year. All just by moving for about 25 minutes during regular TV viewing! This moving-for-30-minutes time frame sounds pretty familiar… If you are a mindless nibbler in front of the TV, stepping in place could offer double the benefits: if you usually snack during commercials and the stepping reduces this, your caloric deficit and subsequent weight loss could be even greater.
If you can’t beat them join them! The average American spends 5 hours each day watching TV – we see this as an opportunity to burn 750 kcal. Bring on those Superbowl commercials!
Just another simple strategy with potentially big pay-off and the evidence to back it up.
(1). Steeves JA, Thompson DL, Bassett DR Jr. Energy cost of stepping in place while watching television commercials. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012; 44:330-5.