Wear Casual Clothes - Burn More Calories

Dress Down at Work for Fitness

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Casual Friday is actually a workplace fitness plan. A study by researchers Katie Zahour, M.A., and John Porcari, Ph.D., of University of Wisconsin, La Crosse discovered that dressing casual leads to burning off enough calories to lose two pounds a year.

Casual Dressers Log More Pedometer Steps

The researchers examined 53 healthy men and women with an average age of 42.

Each wore a pedometer two days a week for two weeks. One day they dressed in normal work attire and the next day they dressed in jeans. On the "Jeans Day," the participants logged an average of 491 (or 8 percent) more steps than on those days in which they wore normal business attire. That works out to 25 more calories a day.

Steps and Calories Add Up

Not impressed? Over the course of a year that equal 2 pounds worth of calories. That in turn would keep off the average weight gain per year for Americans, which is 0.4 to 1.8 pounds per year. A silly little thing like dressing comfortably at work can make the difference between losing and gaining weight.

"Over the last 25 years, advances in technology combined with our hectic lifestyles have help to virtually eliminate physical activity from our daily routines," says Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist for the American Council of Exercise.

"Wearing casual, comfortable clothes to work may be an easy way to encourage us to put physical activity back into our daily lives." The study was published in the July/August 2004 issue of ACE Fitness Matters magazine.

    How to Dress to be More Active

    If your goal is to be more active at work, you might start from the ground up with your shoes. Can you walk a mile in the shoes you are wearing at work? If not, it may be time to think of switching to shoes that will let you log a mile on a 15-minute work break.

    High heels in the workplace might be desirable to make an impression and complement your outfit. But do you need to wear them most of the day? You might have them handy to slip into for a meeting but keep a pair of comfort shoes available for walking around the office. Men should also select shoes for comfort and not just for style or to make an impression.

    If you have to wear a uniform, you may not have much choice in clothing. But if you can make a choice, wear looser-fitting clothes that have enough stretch so you can enjoy a brisk walk. Wear fabrics that can wick away perspiration so you don't feel clammy after enjoying a walk break.

    Soon, you might start suggesting walking meetings rather than sitting. If you're the boss, you can lead the way. But even if you are a lowly minion, you can start making active changes that are good for the whole workplace.

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