News & Media

Shaping Up For Summer Is No Sweat

Simple Activity Provides Similar Health Benefits As More Intense Exercise

Carlsbad, CA, March 18, 2003 - Eighty-five percent of Americans say physical activity is key to good health … yet only 26 percent exercise for 30 minutes each day, according to national surveys. And the most frequently identified obstacle for exercising is lack of time. Given these discouraging statistics, how are we ever going to be able to shape up for summer?

There is good news: you don't have to spend two hours a day in a gym to become more physically fit. Research shows simple everyday activities like gardening, washing the car with your kids, or even shopping at the mall provide important health benefits and will help you maintain your weight. And combining these simple activities with moderate calorie reduction may actually help you lose weight.

Dr. Steven N. Blair, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Cooper Institute in Dallas and Senior Science Editor for the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, has studied the association between lifestyle and health for 35 years. His research shows that moderate physical activity can improve health and help you avoid weight gain.

"The reason obesity is such a serious issue in America is we live in a sedentary world," said Blair. "We hire people to wash our car and clean our house, and we drive everywhere instead of walking. If we simply made more active choices for our daily activities, we would burn more calories, prevent weight gain and be healthier overall."

Dr. Blair has been a member of Jenny Craig, Inc.'s Medical Advisory Board for 10 years. The exercise component of Jenny Craig's weight loss program is based, in large part, on Dr. Blair's philosophy related to the benefits of moderate physical activity.

"At Jenny Craig, we're very realistic about our recommendations for exercise," said Lisa Talamini, Registered Dietitian and Director of Program Development for Jenny Craig, Inc. "Many of our clients juggle work, family and numerous other daily activities, and as a result, can be hard-pressed to find time to work out. This is why we recommend simple activity in conjunction with portion control to lose weight."

What Is A More Active Lifestyle?

Leading a more active lifestyle means building more movement into your daily life, which becomes easier than ever to do during the warmer weather months. Instead of shopping for bargains on the Internet, walk through a local flea market or outdoor mall. Instead of watching your car go through the carwash, get outside and hose the car (and the kids!) down. Instead of ordering pizza and a movie, gather the family for an afternoon hike and sunset barbecue where everyone pitches in on meal preparations. "These simple activities add up," said Dr. Blair. "By going about your daily routine in a more active way rather than a sedentary way, you can burn extra calories and improve your health." And the added bonus is you can cross off a chore and spend quality time with your family at the same time.

Leading a more active lifestyle has the potential to help you maintain and possibly lose weight. In scientific presentations, Dr. Blair often refers to a Lifestyle and Energy Expenditure Chart that was originally included in a 1999 Dallas Morning News article by Laura Beil. The chart (attached) indicates that making the more active choice for daily activities, something as simple as getting up to change the channel instead of using a remote control or cleaning the house yourself rather than hiring somebody else to do it, can help you burn 10,500 kilocalories per month versus just 1,700 kilocalories per month taking the more sedentary approach, for a difference of 8,800 kilocalories. This difference in expenditure is the energy equivalent of 2 ½ pounds per month - or 30 pounds per year.

Success with Moderate Activity

Cathy Ruiz, 28, of New York, NY, lost more than 100 pounds on the Jenny Craig Program. When she first started, she walked for 20 minutes on a treadmill two times per week. "I hadn't exercised since high school gym class 10 years ago, so I needed to start out slowly," said Ruiz. "When I was 100 pounds heavier, I never would have started a weight loss program if someone told me I had to sweat in the gym every day. Jenny Craig's approach isn't 'all or nothing.' It's realistic." Ruiz has maintained her weight loss for more than two years and still doesn't belong to a gym. Today she runs on a treadmill at home and works out to kickboxing tapes twice a week. After reaching her weight loss goals, Ruiz also became a Jenny Craig Consultant, and now enjoys motivating others to lose weight as she did.

Mother of three Laura Reavis, 40, of Clarendon Hills, IL, lost 40 pounds on the Jenny Craig Program. "I initially lost weight by just reducing my calorie intake and controlling my portion sizes," said Reavis, "But I soon found that I needed to incorporate exercise into my daily routine if I wanted to continue my progress. I started off by walking my kids to school, and gradually added distance until I was walking an additional four miles."

Reavis has maintained her weight loss for 2 ½ years. Today she runs instead of walks and plans to start lifting weights to further tone her body.

"It's amazing to see the transformation our clients go through when they discover how good physical activity makes them feel," said Talamini. "By starting out slowly, they're less likely to get injured or burned out, and are more likely to enjoy the process as they get fitter and stronger. Many clients may start exercising to burn calories for weight loss, but they stay with it for the energy, pleasure and empowerment they feel. What better incentive to be active on a regular basis!"