By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
LAS VEGAS – Couch potatoes, laptop lovers and everyone else entrenched in the “digital lifestyle” don’t have to resign themselves to inactivity, fitness company leaders said Wednesday at the nation’s largest technology trade show.
In fact, for the more than 80 percent of Americans in sedentary jobs, there are plenty of high-tech gadgets to get the blood pumping at work. And getting more active can help reduce risks for heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, keeping weight under control and helping smokers quit.
“People have the best intentions,” said Ann Scott-Plante, Weight Watchers vice president of product during a discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show. “But if they don’t integrate physical activity into their daily lives, they won’t get the physical activity they need.”
Phil Northup, president and co-founder of TAO Wellness, said making fitness a game can motivate those who need a boost.
“Convenience is important, but finding a way to integrate fun into a healthy lifestyle makes it much more engaging,” he said.
The company created a cell phone-size device with a pressure sensor that works the muscles and lets you work out anywhere, he said. Other devices like walking treadmills and standing desks can make a difference, too, Northrup said.
Meanwhile, peers help keep people motivated.
“There’s a heavy social influence,” said Peter Schenk, president of fitness company LifeSpan. “If we put two treadmill desks at opposite ends of a building, they tend not to get used much. But if we put the two treadmill desks together, then there’s a spike in usage.”
Addressing sedentary workplaces is important because people who don’t move much at work also may not move much at home. One study showed that adults who watch TV for three hours or more each day may double their risk of premature death compared to those who watch less .
Experts point out that just walking at work can help employees be more fit and productive.