How Your Work Affects Your Workout

Workers are always looking for ways to increase their productivity. They want to get more done with less effort.

But what if your job doesn’t require much physical exertion? What if it’s just sitting at a desk all day?

If so, then maybe you don’t need to lift weights or run marathons every week to stay fit. You could probably do better than most people at playing video games!

Video Games Are Better Than Physical Exertions For Exercise

If you’re like most people, you spend a great deal of time doing something that requires little physical exertion: watching TV. According to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), Americans spent an average of 30 minutes per day using television in 2008. That works out to 1 hour and 18 minutes per day—or 3 hours and 15 minutes per week!

Even if you watch TV for only 10 minutes each day, that still amounts to 5 hours and 20 minutes per week. That means you’d have to watch over 7 full days’ worth of TV before burning off the amount of calories burned during one hour and 45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.

In other words, even if you worked out five times as hard as someone who watched no TV at all, they would burn fewer calories than a person who spends half as much time watching TV. In fact, you’d have to do the equivalent of a marathon—26.219 miles—in order to burn as many calories as you would during one hour and 45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.

Obviously, most people watch more than just 10 minutes of TV per day. In fact, according to media research company, Nielsen, the average American watches roughly 35 hours of TV per week (that’s about 4.5 hours per day).

During this time, they burn around 1,400 calories per week. If they spend this much time exercising at a moderate pace (2.5 miles per hour, or about 88 minutes per day), they would burn about 2,200 calories over the course of the week. That’s just enough to compensate for the amount of calories they’d burn if they watched no TV at all (all else being equal).

Of course, not everyone watches the same amount of TV. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you probably don’t watch much TV at all. According to ATUS, 25% of young adults (age 18-34) claim to watch no TV on a regular basis (less than an hour per day).

If we assume that these same people exercise on the same schedule as the average American (35 hours of TV per week), then they would burn 2,425 calories per week. Since they probably don’t exercise as much as Americans on average (only 88 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise), we should also expect them to watch more TV than the average American (let’s say, 2 hours per day). That means they’d burn around 1,750 calories per week—a full 4 hours and 45 minutes worth of moderate intensity exercise.

But even people who don’t watch much TV usually spend at least some of their free time engaged in sedentary activities. According to the ATUS, the average American spends about 1 hour and 15 minutes a day doing “Other Sedentary Activities” (OSA) other than sleep or sitting at a desk. This works out to around half an hour more per day than the average American spends watching TV, meaning that people who don’t watch any TV still end up burning more calories each week than they would if they engaged in moderate intensity exercise for the same amount of time.

Sources & references used in this article:

Total heart rate training: customize and maximize your workout using a heart rate monitor by J Friel – 2006 – books.google.com

Boost Your Workout With Caffeine by R Wildman, F RD – Nutrition – bodybuilding.com

Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training by A Hayes, PJ Cribb – Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & …, 2008 – journals.lww.com

Do “brain-training” programs work? by DJ Simons, WR Boot, N Charness… – … Science in the …, 2016 – journals.sagepub.com