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Let’s bust some common myths about health and exercise

Let’s bust some common myths about health and exercise

Working out after work makes up for sitting down in the office. Right? There are lots of myths about exercise and how to stay healthy in the workplace. If what is said can be trusted, drinking lots of coffee can prevent weight loss! So, what’s true and what’s not? We bust some of the most common myths about health and exercise in the office!


1. If I exercise after work, it doesn’t matter if I sit down all day

FALSE. You cannot compensate for the time you spend sitting down during work hours with a high intensity workout after work. Sitting for hours at a time at work has harmful consequences that you cannot reverse by doing exercise later. Eight hours of sitting down every day can lead to obesity, diabetes type 2, hypertension and cardiovascular disease even if you do regular exercise in your free time.

Make sure to vary between a sitting and standing position at work, taking regular active breaks. The smallest things can make a difference, such as using a printer in another part of the office, getting up to make a cup of coffee or walking over to your colleague to talk instead of e-mailing. Another option could be doing gentle exercise at your desk, such as walking on a desk treadmill for a while or using a desk bike while you work. This type of light exercise will improve your blood circulation and control blood sugar levels.


2. Low intensity exercise burns more calories than high intensity exercise

FALSE. A long and low intensity workout has more or less the same result as a short and intense workout session, according to Mikael Mattsson, a sports physiologist at the University of Gymnastics and Sports in Stockholm. Short high intensity workouts use up a lot of energy both during and after the workout. Therefore, it is not just a matter of how many calories you burn during the work out itself but what you burn the rest of the day.


It’s better to get a proper workout even if it’s a very short one, so don’t worry if you start to feel sweaty or out of breath. When you exercise at high intensity, your muscles are tricked into believing they need to prepare for more physically demanding activity and your body starts to burn more energy. This has positive effects on your health, such as increased oxygen intake, decreased cholesterol level and improved insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of diabetes. Don’t forget that everyone is different; what is right for other people may not be right for you. Try different types of exercise to see what has a positive effect on your body and your wellbeing.


3. 5 minutes of exercise won’t make a difference

FALSE. You should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, but that can be difficult when you need to go to work, pick up the children from school, make dinner and run other errands. But, even a few minutes of exercise is better than none. You can simply do a few squats or quick push-ups in the office during a break or when you get home. Or why not run a up and down the stairs a few times a day instead of taking the elevator? Five minutes can have a bigger impact than you think!

It can be hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule. One way to overcome this is to exercise discreetly while at work. That doesn’t mean that you should sneak away to the gym in the middle of the day, but there are plenty of simple exercises you can do while sitting at your desk. For example, try holding your legs up parallel to the floor for 1 minute and feel the difference it makes for the muscles in your legs. It’s better to do this type of low intensity exercise when you need to save your energy for the afternoon – not to mention it’s easier to fit into your day!


4. Caffeine can lead to weight loss

FALSE. Caffeine has no scientific link to increased weight loss. It increases metabolism but not by much and has no proven long-term effect on weight. The main reason why coffee doesn’t have a major impact on health is because milk or sugar is normally added, which increases the calorie intake considerably. On the other hand, caffeine gives you more energy so you might be more active throughout the day. Also, if the coffee machine is far away from your desk and you drink a lot of coffee every day you get more exercise by walking back and forth!

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