Sitting Less Linked to Weight Loss

Winter has officially arrived but instead of settling into hibernation for the season, making a plan to move more during the winter months can help prevent weight gain or even contribute to weight loss.  According to a recent study, published in the journal Obesity, even without structured exercise activities, moving more throughout the day can have weight-loss benefits for older, overweight adults. 

As reported by UPI Health News, participants in the SitLess program were asked to move around more often during the day to increase their step count.  Researchers found that older adults who moved more each day lost weight and kept the weight off more effectively than in more structured programs. 

Participants in SitLess also were more likely to stick with the program than structured aerobic exercise and weight-loss treatments.  A weight loss program can only be successful if it is sustainable.  So rather than starting an exercise routine that may have short-term benefits, it’s important to find physical activities that participants enjoy.  

Walking with a friend or while listening to music or a podcast is a great way to get in more steps each day.  Small, intentional changes like parking farther away from store entrances or taking phone calls while standing, or using a treadmill can all make a difference over time.  Set a daily or weekly step goal using an activity tracker and challenge friends or family to a friendly competition.  

With so many conveniences in our daily life, it’s easy to become sedentary, especially during the winter months.  Getting up to move around every hour while working on the computer, or watching television can help promote greater health, and physical function.   Cleaning the house, decluttering closets, shoveling snow, or walking the dog are all daily activities that can contribute to weight loss and greater independence in older age.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of American adults over 60 are considered obese or severely overweight.  Having a body mass index over 30 meets the criteria for obesity and being severely overweight increases the risk for serious chronic illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.  By losing just 10 pounds of fat, not only are adults more motivated to continue with healthier habits, but they can lower blood sugar levels, get better sleep, lose belly fat, ease arthritis pain, have healthier cholesterol levels, and experience fewer digestive problems.