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Exercise and TV-Watching Habits Affect Our Overall Activity

You’d think going for a morning run would motivate you to not be a couch potato the rest of the day. But, according to a study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people tend to do fewer other physical activities on days they exercise, which may take away from any gains in total active time. The study analyzed data collected from 1,020 adults asked to report on how they spent each minute of the previous day. They completed this report every other month for a year. Researchers then categorized each day as an exercise day, prolonged TV-viewing day, or work day. After controlling for factors such as age, sex, season, and day of the week, they found:

  • On exercise days, participants reported less sedentary time. However, because they also reported less time spent on light activities, housework, and shopping, their total energy expenditure only increased by about half the amount expended during exercise.
  • On prolonged TV-viewing days, participants reported more total sedentary time and less light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
  • On work days, participants reported less sleep and the most total sedentary time.

This study suggests that exercisers may not be increasing their physical activity as much as they perceive. It also shows the importance of being mindful of your activity level, especially on work days. Not only does exercise have numerous health benefits, but researchers have found that being sedentary for long stretches of time may increase your risk of death from any cause. So, whether you’re running laps or running errands, remember to stay active every day.

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

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