Many of us wind down when it comes to the weekends as a well-deserved break, but new research has found that taking part in lazy weekends may actually contribute to greater body fat. In fact, researchers suggest that being a couch potato may be more harmful than sitting at your desk all week.
The researchers reported that a 20-minute reduction in sedentary behavior on the weekends can contribute to dropping two pounds along with 1.6 percent body fat in one year. The same findings were not seen during the weekdays.
Study author Clemens Drenowatz said, “We know that, on average, people consume less or eat healthier diets on weekdays. 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.”
The study looked at 332 adults where researchers measured sedentary behavior with activity monitors over the course of 10 days. Participants also reported their own sedentary behavior on the weekends and weekdays.
Drenowatz added, “From what we saw, the overall sedentary time wasn’t different on weekdays versus weekends. 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.”
Dr. Omar Khan, clinician from Christiana Care Health System, added, “Weekends are a whole different matter. There’s a big opportunity to be healthy — or, as many of us tend to be, fairly unhealthy. With a two-day chunk of potentially being a couch potato, anything we do in that space can be fairly significant.”
In the large picture, 20 minutes is a mere fraction of time and can easily be devoted to moving around in order to reduce the risk of increasing body fat.