When it comes to slimming, more people in the UK keep an eye on their daily calorie consumption and forget about exercise completely, compared to the number of people who try to become more physically active, say researchers from GlaxoSmithkline.
Apparently, about 50% of women and 30% of men focus entirely on their calorie intake. This is in spite of the fact that over half of them know physical activity is more important.
The researchers believe part of the reason for this trend is that it is getting much easier for consumers to buy low-calorie products. In fact, GSK Nutritional Healthcare researchers say this trend towards being couch-potato low-calorie eaters is quite worrying.
In a BBC online report, John Brewer, a sports scientist, GSK, said “The trend of people swapping the gym for a low calorie meal is very worrying. Consuming fewer calories is no substitute for exercise. We cannot afford to become a nation of calorie-counting couch potatoes – the benefits of leading active lives are enormous.”
In the same report, another GSK nutritionist said manufacturers of low-calorie diet foods have a responsibility to consumers. As the range of low-calorie food and drink products available to consumers grows, manufacturers need to make a concerted effort to encourage people to focus on high calorie expenditure – burning more calories.
Opinion of Editor of Medical News Today
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to see that getting stuff off the supermarket shelves is much easier than going down to the gym and sweating buckets. Why, you can even sit back on your sofa and watch your favourite movie while crunching into one of the latest low-calorie, tasty nibbles.
Millions of people find the thought of going to the gym frightening, while cutting down calories these days is much easier as there are lots of products to choose from. In the UK, for instance, only one-in-eight adults is a member of a gym.
However, physical activity does not mean you have to join a gym. There are scores of things you can do to burn more calories.
— When you can, use the stairs instead of the lift (elevator)
— If you are going to pop into your nearby local shop, don’t use the car – walk
— Get yourself a pedometer and aim for an increase in the number of steps you do per day
— Go for more walks
— Use your bicycle more often
— While you are watching TV, walk about while the adverts are on
— Make sure you have a cordless phone at home and walk about whenever you are talking into it
— We have a small, portable stepping machine at home in the living room. While the TV is on I try to use it for about five minutes every hour – keep the device clean and well-oiled so that it does not squeak. I also have a portable stepper in the office
— For those of you who are particularly keen, buy a skipping rope – it is light and fits snugly into your briefcase or desk drawer. Fortunately my office is on the ground floor and my bouts of skipping do not annoy anyone
There are several moments during your daily routine when you could take advantage of using up some extra calories. If the thought of sweating in the gym is a daunting one for you, try to incorporate lots of little increases in your physical activity throughout the day – they all add up.