We are fast becoming a society of statues. A curious species who seem to have our collective asses permanently attached to a chair. Or preferably, a couch. We discovered that within a few years many of us will have identical movement patterns and daily activity levels to that of the oak tree. Yep, it appears that many of us have become fat (seated) spectators in the game of life. Heavy sigh.

Fat sigh.

Moving towards a Solution

So as I’m an Exercise Scientist and Personal Development Bloke, I thought it might be timely and appropriate for me to throw out one simple suggestion which might be a practical and realistic strategy to offset a little of that collective inactivity. A simple way to burn a bunch more calories, lose some weight and fat, improve our health, increase our fitness and get us in a better place emotionally and psychologically without even having to leave our lounge room (although we could do it anywhere). No use talking about problems unless we’re serious about finding a solution. Otherwise we’re just complaining.

Keeping it Simple

Note that what I am about to outline is not a global answer to obesity (of course) or a one-program-fits-all solution for the fat asses of the world. No, it’s my way of showing how simple and effective exercising for weight-loss can be when we find a way, rather than find an excuse. While the moaning masses might be problem-focused, you and I are gonna be solution-focused. So there.

The following example is exactly that; an example of how practical and uncomplicated we can make the process of increasing our daily energy expenditure.

Some Interesting Facts:

1. The average person watches about three hours of television per day – mostly in the evening. These figures are similar in the U.K. (according to the research I have).

2. Every hour of commercial prime-time television is programmed with about fifteen minutes of advertisements. Forty five minutes of show, fifteen minutes of ads – with the ads typically being broken up into five three(ish) minutes blocks.

3.
An individual who regularly watches TV from 7.30pm – 10.30pm (for example) will be subjected to approximately forty five minutes of mind-numbing, ass-expanding ads every night.

The Suggestion

Use those three minute blocks to change your body and life.

A Question

What would happen over the course of a year if our average TV watcher got off the couch and did some simple, easy-to-do step-ups (stepping up and down on a box, step, platform) every time the ads were on? The answer is quite staggering.

Some Hypotheticals

The following hypothetical scenarios are based on the assumption that the only change in the subject’s lifestyle (diet, incidental and occupational activity) is the inclusion of the fifteen three-minute bouts of stepping. The step height would be either eight or twelve inches (20 or 30cm). The estimated annual weight loss was calculated by dividing the total calories expended for the year (via stepping) by 3,500. See my recent article for clarification on the significance of the 3,500 figure.

Example 1.

Weight of subject: 150 lbs (68 kgs)

Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 460 cals
Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 552 cals
Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 167,900 cals
Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 201,480 cals

Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
48 lbs (21.8 kgs)
Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box): 57.6 lbs (26.1 kgs)

Example 2.

Weight of subject: 200 lbs (90.7 kgs)

Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 614 cals
Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 737 cals
Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 224,110 cals
Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 269,005 cals

Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
64 lbs (29 kgs)
Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box):
76.9 lbs (34.9 kgs)

Example 3.

Weight of subject: 250 lbs (113.4 kgs)

Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 767 cals
Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 921 cals
Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 279,995 cals
Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 336,165 cals

Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
80 lbs (36.3 kgs)
Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box):
96 lbs (43.5 kgs)

Wow!

Freaky huh? Now, of course I’m not suggesting that we would, should or could (well, I guess we could if we really wanted to) step for forty five minutes every day for the next year, but what I am suggesting is that when we remove the emotion and the bullshit excuses, increasing our daily energy expenditure (thereby losing weight and fat) really ain’t that complex. Unless of course we find a way to make it so. And no, what I’ve written above is not (in any way) intended to be a personal exercise prescription for any individual.

Who said disclaimer?

Some Final Thoughts

Naturally the heavier you are the more energy you will expend (cals you will burn) per unit of time, so simply adjust the numbers up or down by using the above weights and figures as a guide. Of course you could replace the step-ups with a number of alternatives and use your three minute intervals any way you choose. Activities such as stair walking, skipping, treadmill and stationary bike could all be viable options. There are a few other variables which will have some impact on precisely on how much energy you expend over your three minutes (like technique and intensity) but overall, the above figures will give you a good idea of what’s possible.
I chose the old-fashioned step-up because it’s cost effective, practical, convenient, requires no equipment (okay a box), no skill and is suitable for most fitness levels. It’s also pretty handy at targeting the ass, hips and legs – per chance you should know somebody whose lower body is in need of some attention!

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