Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at exactly how much movement offsets the risks from that desk job and why boosting your body acceptance improves your health.
Work out this much if you’re a desk jockey
Sitting for hours at a time at work comes with its share of negative health effects, from obesity to high blood pressure and blood sugar to increased risk of cancer. Those who sit six hours a day or more and get less than 150 minutes of movement a week were at a higher risk of dying from a heart attack, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The good news, however, is that the same study summarized in Well + Good gives us a pretty good idea of just how much weekly movement it takes to counteract that cardiovascular risk.
Researchers discovered that those who worked out 150 to 200 minutes per week countered those cardiovascular risks to some degree. Those risks were all but erased for those who engaged in at least 300 minutes of physical movement a week, or about 45 minutes a day, which is at the upper end of the 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise recommended by the government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
What you think about your body matters
Obsessing about your weight rather than focusing on your health can actually harm your physical health, according to this segment on NPR.
Here’s an example of that damage: A research study that pulled participants out of what they thought was a “shopping psychology” study because they didn’t fit the clothes, reported higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those not excluded. Prolonged exposure to cortisol can cause your body to deposit fat in your belly region, which is the kind of fat associated with a greater risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
“Experiencing weight stigma can sort of trigger these processes that ironically make you gain more weight,” says Janet Tomiyama, Ph.D., a health psychologist at UCLA and senior author of the study. “And that could put you at even more risk for weight stigma.”
Rather than trying to change our shapes, experts say, we should be focusing on practicing healthy behaviors—and that includes mental health. The 22-minute segment gives more tips on feeling good about the body you’re in and strategies to improve your health without focusing on weight.
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