The ‘Advent Calendar’ activity can help increase activity and cut down on sitting time

birth calendar

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According to a pilot study published in the Christmas issue of the journal BMJ.

The active Advent intervention—including the “belly snowman” sit-ups and the “Christmas delivery” walk—was enjoyed by the participants, indicating that the public would welcome it. public health campaign To help them be more physically active and less sedentary during the holidays, researchers say.

Physical activity is an important way to prevent diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, yet activity levels remain low in many countries.

The Christmas holidays are a particularly high-risk period for physical inactivity and weight gain, with evidence that people gain about 0.4-0.9 kg during the holiday season. However, it is still unclear how feasible it is to implement a holiday-based operational intervention.

So researchers at Loughborough University made a pilot study to test the feasibility and effect of the Christmas theme physical activity intervention during Advent, designed to enhance physical fitness activity level and cut sedentary time.

They recruited 107 inactive adults (who did not meet UK guidelines for physical activity) from social media platformworkplace and public groups November 11-30, 2021. Most (88%) were white women with a median age of 46 and 56% were overweight or obese.

After collecting basic dataparticipants are randomly assigned to one of two intervention group (71) or control group (36).

Intervention participants received a daily Advent email (December 1-24, 2021) containing Christmas-themed physical activity ideas to be completed that day.

Examples include the “Star” jump, the “Dasher the reindeer” sprint, the “10 lords-a-leaping” jump rope, the “Lay the table” planks, and the “Rocking around the Christmas” Christmas song dance.

Each idea is offered at three levels of intensity: Easy Elf (low intensity), Moderate Mrs. Claus (moderate intensity), and Hard Santa (high amtitude). Participants were free to choose the intensity level of their physical activity each day.

Control participants received a leaflet about healthy living on December 1.

All participants used an online questionnaire to report the number of minutes they spent in moderate to high intensity physical activity per week and the number of days they performed muscle-strengthening exercises per week. week.

About half of the participants in both groups were asked to wear an accelerometer (a device that monitors physical activity intensity and mass) on their wrist 24 hours a day for the duration of the study.

Intervention participants were also asked to rate their enjoyment of activity ideas and recount which activities with intensity they completed each day.

The researchers acknowledge that this was a short intervention that produced relatively small changes in behavior and that as a pilot study, they could not report on effectiveness. However, this intervention is safe, inexpensive, and designed to be easily replicated, and evidence suggests it may have the potential to change health behaviors over the longer term.

Some of the pilot results were average, with groups reporting similar minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during week one and week two.

At week three, the intervention group reported participating in about 21 minutes more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week and just over half a day of muscle-strengthening exercises per week than the control group. proof.

Accelerometer data showed that the intervention group engaged in similar, although slightly more, minutes per day for moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (15 min), intense physical activity mild (22 min) and total physical activity (37 min), than the control group during the intervention period.

On average, people in the intervention group also spent less sedentary time (59 minutes) per day during the intervention than those in the control group.

Overall, 42 (70%) of the 60 intervention group participants reported that they enjoyed the intervention and 41 (69%) of the 59 people reported that they completed the Positive Advent intervention ideas everyday. Of these, 18 (30%) completed Easy Elf, 12 (21%) completed Mrs. Claus Moderate and 11 (18%) completed Hard Santa.

No safety concerns were reported, although the study was not designed to evaluate this definitively.

“The public is interested in Christmas-themed physical activity intervention, which also reduces sedentary time and holds promise for increased participation in physical activity,” the authors write.

They conclude: “Intervention interest and adherence shows that the public will welcome public health campaigns to help them become more active and less sedentary during the holiday season.”

More information:
Christmas-themed physical activity intervention to increase physical activity participation during Advent: a pilot randomized controlled trial, BMJ (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2022-072807

quote: ‘Advent Calendar’ activity that can help increase activity and reduce sitting time (2022, 19 December) retrieved 19 December 2022 from 12-advent-calendar-boost.html

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