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To your health: move it    Jun 27, 2019

To your health: move it
Jun 27, 2019


Prof. dr. Dominique HANSEN



‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but there is only so much an apple can do. That is why we at inSCIght UHasselt are going to provide you with some scientific health tips. And who better to provides us all with these insights than our new healthy Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences. This post: I like to move it, move it. 


“Seize every opportunity you have to move”, vice dean Dominique Hansen starts our conversation. “In this example, we calculate how many calories you would burn when walking from the main building of UHasselt to the Science Park where a lot of our research institutes are located. And we make it very concrete: that are a lot of sausage rolls… . This distance of 900 meters (one-way) would convert into 99 hours of physical activity per year, which in turn would convert to 21 348 kcal/year (for a person of 70 kg) or a staggering 56 pigs in a blanket a.k.a. sausage rolls.”

“When you would keep on doing this, it can potentially decrease your chance for premature death by 10 %, decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increase your quality of life in general. On top of that, it would only take you less than half an hour a day. But, you can also combine this walk with a meeting by doing it together with a colleague, thus saving time. Other moving opportunities are traveling by bike instead of the car for short distances.”


“No time to walk? Just take the stairs”, Dominique says. “Here, we calculated what it would mean if you would take the stairs instead of the elevator to the top floor of the rectorate to the rector’s office, which is exactly 100 stairs. This would translate to 122 hours of physical activity a year or 33 626 kcal/year. This is a staggering amount of 88 sausage rolls.”

“What makes this type of movement so effective is the fact that it is heavier for our body as we have to push our bodyweight into the air while ascending or slow it down while descending. If you could only pick one thing to change in your life than taking the stairs should be it, as the effects are larger than those of walking or cycling.”


“And finally, a real simple tip. Try to sit less during working hours. Stand up while reading a document, walk while having a meeting, or put your laptop on the windowsill for a moment. Increasing your time spent standing up by two hours will cause you to burn an additional 16 940 kcal per year, which is another 44 sausage rolls.”

“However, if do this, you will not only burn more calories but also decrease the chance of developing chronic low back or neck pain. In addition to this, you will be less prone to developing chronic conditions. So if you are reading this article while sitting down, perhaps you can stand up?”


Did you know that when you move 30 minutes a day you …

Have 30 % less chance of dying prematurely

Have 35 % less change of getting dementia

Have 20-30 % less change of developing a depression

Have 25 % less change of getting a stroke

Have 30 % less change of developing heart and vascular diseases