Is being average unhealthy? That question can be a kind of scary one to ask, considering that many of us—by definition—fall into the category of being average. And when you consider that the average American working in an office spends 10 hours of their day sitting and that the average American diet exceeds the recommended intake of calories from things like fats and added sugars, well, that question gets a little scarier.
BuzzFeed wanted to know if these numbers really represented the average American, so they gathered a group of men to find out. As it turns out, many of these statistics do, in fact, ring true. But instead of presenting the problem and leaving these men (and you) to deal with it, the site brought in a personal trainer who served up some serious life hacks to help you fit health into your schedule more easily.
Sitting for 30 minutes slows your metabolism by about 90 percent, which isn’t fun for anyone. According to certified fitness instructor Aaron Hines, “What the body needs is constant change.” So? Make time to do something every 1.5 hours. Whether that’s hitting a few squats on your bathroom break or finding a few moments to be active outside, try to work 30 minutes of activity into your day.
Oh, and a standing desk isn’t the be-all and end-all solution to this problem. According to Hines, standing for too long can have negative consequences as well. For those of you who do have standing desks, make sure to work in some dynamic stretching every hour to keep your blood flowing.
In 2013, the average American consumed 78 pounds of added sugar.
Exercise is only 30 percent of the puzzle, according to Hines. The other 70 percent has to do with diet—something the average American tends to struggle with. Pay attention to the foods you’re consuming throughout the day, says Hines. Check your office snack stash and consider avoiding processed ingredients and saturated fats when possible.
But don’t go to the opposite extreme of cutting all fats and carbs from your diet, either. Just make sure the fats and carbs you’re using to fuel yourself are the right kinds—like lean meats, vegetables, and other clean, nutritious foods.
Between 2007 and 2010, fast food made up 15.3 percent of American adults’ daily caloric intake.
With a stat like this, it’s no surprise that the average American diet exceeds the recommended intake of calories from solid fats, added sugars, refined grains, sodium, and saturated fats. Fast food is convenient, but Hines says that with a little preparation, buying it can be an easy habit to beat. Just think ahead and bring some healthy snacks and meals with you to the office, and soon enough, that Big Mac will seem a lot less necessary.
So sure, average might be unhealthy. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Throw in some jumping jacks the next time you hit the ladies’ room and work in some stretches throughout your day, and average might not mean unhealthy after all.