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Trio on Activity

Posted by bmagnus On December - 18 - 2009

We have three related items to share today. The first is some research on exercise attitudes among overweight and normal weight people. Not too shockingly, overweight people had negative attitudes about exercise, despite the fact that exercise would help them lose weight. It turns out that among other things, overweight people think exercise will make them feel better about themselves than normal weight people do! The heavier they are, the worse they think their health is. So why don’t they get out to the gym? “[O]verweight individuals felt more embarrassed and intimidated about exercising, exercising around young people, exercising around fit people, and about health club salespeople than individuals of normal weight. Overweight and normal weight individuals felt the same about exercising with the opposite sex, complicated exercise equipment, exercise boredom, and intention to exercise.”

Another study looked at what happens when overweight and obese people cut their TV watching time in half. Just last week we looked at the health hazards of spending too much time sitting around, but these researchers wanted to know what behaviors would chance if they weren’t sitting in front of the TV.  Similar research has been done in children, but this is the first study on adults. It turns out that participants didn’t consume more calories, and they didn’t sleep more. However, they did burn about 119 calories more per daymostly non-exercise activities, but activity nonetheless.

What if we used the TV for some sort of activity instead of just sitting around watching it? A third study looked at whether the popular Wii Fit really had any impact on family fitness. Lots of people use the Wii Fit as a home workout program, but does it work? Well, like all workout programs, it only works if you do it regularly. Over the 3 months of the study, family usage dropped 82% to a mere 4 minutes per day on average. In the end, researchers “found that children did display significant increases in aerobic fitness after three months with the Wii Fit. However, three months of home Wii Fit use produced no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition for families as a whole.” One theory is that the activities just don’t have staying power; like some of the music games, a new version has to come out regularly to keep fans playing. While some workout regimens are better than others, one you won’t keep doing is worthless.

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