Lazy Weekends Are Worse For You Than Working All Week, Says Study

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woman working on laptop

There's been quite a bit of research in recent years about the association between sedentary behavior (which includes time sitting, watching television, or using a computer) with serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Now, a study has found that being a couch potato on the weekends may be even worse for your weight than working at a desk all week.

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"We know that, on average, people consume less or eat healthier diets on weekdays," explained study author Clemens Drenowatz to HealthDay.

"So, they may be able to get by with less activity on weekdays because their diet makes up for it.

On weekends, they're eating more, which requires more activity or less sedentary behavior to offset."

For the study, Drenowatz and his colleagues measured a group of 332 adults, ages 20 to 35, and their inactivity over a ten-day period.

The participants also reported their own sedentary behaviors for weekdays and the weekend.

In addition, the study subjects had their body weight and body fat measurements taken every three months over a one-year period.

"From what we saw, the overall sedentary time wasn't that different on weekdays versus weekends," Drenowatz said.

"A lot of people had sedentary occupations, like office jobs, and they didn't really make up for that on the weekends either. This suggests diet is the reason, though obviously more research needs to be done."

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Drenowatz said that it was important to differentiate between actually exercising and just sitting less. 

Even a 20-minute reduction in couch potato time on Saturdays and Sundays can add up to a loss of more than two pounds and 1.6 percent of body fat after a year.

"I'm not telling people they need to go out and exercise — that's a separate issue — but just to reduce their sedentary time. It may be just standing up and walking around a bit can help, "Drenowatz said.

To ameliorate these issues many have turned to standing desks. Standing desks are exactly what they sound like: a desk that meets your waist that requires you to stand while working.

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Something as simple as this can reduce sitting throughout the day.

So between episodes of Daredevil or Game of Thrones, take a walk around the block or do some yoga. Your body will be much better for it.

Walking at the end of the day is a good way to reduce sitting hours and clear your head.

Yeah, walking is boring for sure, but listen to a podcast and you'll be taking 4,000 steps in no time! 

Also, there are tons of free yoga classes online, so do some downward dog and get off your couch. 

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.