Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dressed Up for Sitting Down

There is a saying that you should dress for success. Most usually, this phrase implies fine suits, designer shoes and any extra accessory that you can add to the ensemble. This is because when you hear the word success, most people visualize wealth and its preceding occupation. In the fitness world, dress for success means something different. Not necessarily success from a different type of job, but instead fitness success through your method of dress. This is due to that fact that studies have linked casual dress at work to more calories burned while doing normal day to day activities.
For many women with jobs such as those in the media, management positions, bank tellers and even the glamorous gals behind the counters at your favorite department store, tight skirts, constrictive collared blouses and high heels are common thread. In the past, I have also shared in the cruel wardrobe during the many years while I worked for a large corporation and various other professional jobs. As the day progresses and your time-efficient tootsies have begun to swell, sometimes you prefer the sanctity of your stabilized desk rather than the crushing sensation of body weight in heels against the earth. Sometimes even a much-needed trip to the restroom is postponed for the sake of avoiding the walk of what seems like burning coals.
In addition to sore feet, there is also the social lunch hour. A welcomed colleague luncheon may bring plenty of laughter, but the resulting swollen tummy in your form-fitted skirt may beg for shelter beneath the edge of your desk. Pair the two together and it is a recipe for activity avoidance. This lack of interest in, literally, going the extra mile may contribute to sedentary tendencies while in the workplace, which can indeed lead to weight gain.
American Council on Exercise decided to study the activities of employees and their activity levels based on daily attire. The findings were relevant to expectation - an eight percent increase in caloric expenditure in the subjects that wore casual and comfortable clothing. These casually-dressed participants took more steps throughout the day, including stairs over elevators, and subsequently, more calories were burned. This was solely based on time in the office and does not include a visit to the gym. In addition, this study was conducted in the colder seasons. The researchers agree that there could be as much as a 15-20% increase in steps taken in the warmer months, which would equal a total of 23-28% increase in activity of those that dress casually to work.
While the studied percentage may seem insignificant, it does offsets the nation's average annual weight gain of .4 to 1.8 pounds. If this does not encourage you to seek out better means of your professional presentation, you may want to also consider less foot trauma and the decline of irregular inner thigh contractions from putting off that lingering urge to visit the ladies room.

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