According to a new study, the amount of time you spend on your phone and watching TV can say a lot about how you may look. Although athletes are more active and show greater levels of physical activity than the average adult, it’s been reported that when they are not exercising, they spend similar amounts of time being sedentary (i.e., on their phones, sitting, etc.)
ACTIVE RECOVERY WORKOUT IS BETTER FOR FAT LOSS SUMMARY
- Active recovery workout (i.e., light exercise) can increase calories burned compared to being sedentary
- Being sedentary, regardless of the time spent exercising, was associated with higher increases in body fat.
- Elite athletes with the most sedentary time had the highest body fat despite the sport they played.
- Being more active while not in the gym can optimize body composition.
ATHLETE RECOVERY WORKOUT: ACTIVE OR PASSIVE REST
Most people will go to the gym, have an intense workout, and then on their “off days,” spend most of their day watching TV or on social media. You are sore; why would you want to perform light exercise to get the blood flowing? Most lifters have the mentality, “I trained legs yesterday. I deserve the day off to veg out on the sofa, binge the new season of Ozark, and recuperate. There are those that
WHAT DO ATHLETES DO DURING REST AND RECOVERY
According to a new study, the amount of time you spend on your phone and watching TV can say a lot about how you may look. Although athletes are more active and show greater levels of physical activity than the average adult, it’s been reported that when athletes are not exercising, they spend similar amounts of time being sedentary (i.e., on their phones, sitting, etc.). (1, 2)
RECOVERY FOR ATHLETES IS BEST WHEN THEY ARE ACTIVE
Researchers wanted to see the relationship between being sedentary and what they did when they were not in sports. They examined how sedentary athletes were and how it impacted their body composition of athletes. 135 athletes from various sports were given questionnaires about how much time they watched TV, worked on the computer, played video games on their cell phones, read, etc.
These were not just recreational athletes; from the survey, 2.2% were elite top 10 international athletes, 29.6% were international athletes, and 68.1% competed at the national level.
Athletes came from different sports disciplines (i.e., handball, athletics, basketball, boxing, climbing, fencing, soccer, rugby, futsal, gymnastics, golf, hockey, judo, karate, motorbiking, surfing, swimming, water polo, taekwondo, rowing, powerlifting, tennis, trampoline, triathlon, and volleyball) with 44.4% of the athletes from team sports and 55.6% from individual sports.
So what did they find? Of all the variables they looked at, the total cell phone screen time was associated with greater % body fat and lower lean muscle mass. The athletes spend about an hour and a half daily on their cell phones. This study found similar findings to Judice et al. that sedentary behavior was associated with a high % of body fat regardless of the weekly training time. (2)
WHAT IS NEAT?
NEAT is the amount of energy spent through non-conscious activity such as fidgeting, tapping your leg, typing on a computer, etc. NEAT has also been referred to as Non-Exercise Physical Activity. The number of calories burned thru NEAT can vary considerably among people ranging from 15% of the total daily energy expenditure in sedentary people to 50% or more daily energy expenditure in highly active people. Urban societies which have the luxury of cars, dishwashers, and washing machines all result in decreased NEAT levels. (4) NEAT can vary as much as 2000 calories per day between individuals with similar body composition, gender, and age. (5) NEAT is also related to genetics; some people are genetically more prone to fidgeting and have higher NEAT levels.
ACTIVE RECOVERY AND NEAT
Very low physical activity levels, such as fidgeting, can increase energy expenditure above resting levels by 20–40%. NEAT has been found to increase during an energy surplus and decrease while in a caloric deficit. (6) The variability in NEAT is predictive of weight gain during overfeeding. For example, one study found that those individuals who increased their NEAT during overfeeding gained the least amount of body fat; conversely, those that failed to increase their NEAT gained body fat. (7)
Some have tried to increase NEAT activity by using standing desks and seated foot pedaling. One study compared sitting, standing, and seated foot pedaling devices. The seated foot pedaling device elevated metabolic rate by 17.6% compared to sitting and 7% standing. (8) Another study found that a walking treadmill where people worked for 2.5 hours per day had beneficial effects on body composition and increased overall activity with a decrease in NEAT. (9) When lean individuals’ NEAT levels were compared to obese individuals, the obese individuals were seated for two hours longer than lean individuals. If obese individuals were to adopt the practices of lean individuals, they could burn an additional 350 calories per day. (10)
ACTIVE RECOVERY WORKOUT KEY POINTS
· Being sedentary, regardless of the time spent exercising, was associated with higher increases in body fat
· Being more active while not being in the gym can optimize body composition
3. Grace Laura Rose, Morgan Jane Farley, Leigh C Ward, Gary John Slater, Tina L. Skinner, Shelley E Keating, Mia Annalies Schaumberg. (2022) Accuracy of body composition measurement techniques across the age-span. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
5. Christian von Loeffelholz and Andreas Birkenfeld, ‘The Role of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Human Obesity,’ in Endotext, ed. by Kenneth R. Feingold and others (South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc., 2000) <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/> [accessed 28 January 2022].
8. Craig A. Horswill, Haley M. Scott, and Danel M. Voorhees, ‘Effect of a Novel Workstation Device on Promoting Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)’, Work (Reading, Mass.), 58.4 (2017), 447–54 <https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-172640>.