One of the things that is often ignored in the goal to be healthy is the aspect of NEAT. That is, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which is all of the stuff you do on a daily basis that is not intentional exercise. Things like walking around, going up and down stairs, playing with your kids, or your dog, even fidgeting at work. You might be wondering how this matters, but it goes back to the reality of ‘a little over a long time equals a lot’ equation.
Let’s say you are SUPER diligent and work out one hour a day, five times a week. That is pretty awesome! But if we know that there are 168 hours in a week, then that means you are NOT working out for 163 hours a week….. (97 per cent of the time).
While it is absolutely true that the five hours you spend working out with a purpose, intentionally doing strength training will carry over into the other hours as your body heals and builds, it really does show how important the NEAT time is, because it is so much more of your life. If you sit all day, and move very little, your NEAT may be as low as 500 calories a day. If you work in a trade like carpentry or landscaping, etc. – you might burn over 2000 calories a day. There are cool watches now that can show us this data: step count, stairs, activity levels and calories burned.
So, what if you could increase your NEAT every day? Would you agree that would help your goals of being lean and fit? You bet it would!
OK, what things can we do on a daily basis that will increase our NEAT?
Walk more. This one is super simple. Park at the farthest place you can from work, shopping, or any errand. Instead of fighting for that spot super close to the door, opt for the ample and empty parking spots furthest away. (ever notice they are never full?). Go for a walk after supper. It doesn’t have to be long or far at first, but it puts your body in a fat burning state, instead of fat storage. If your office or errand has an elevator or stairs option, then obviously the choice is: stairs! And HUSTLE!
Trade your office chair for a ball chair or treadmill. A treadmill might be extreme, but this trend is really catching on! One of our clients walks three to five kms or more a day at work, and his weight is dropping fast while his fitness level goes up! If you don’t have that budget, then a ball chair can also keep you active all day while you sit. I have the one with 4 wheels on a base – so I can move around my desk as needed. If you cannot do either one, then try things like pacing around your office while you talk on the phone, or even standing while you talk. Get a keyboard tray that raises up so you can stand while you work for part of your day. Taking a coffee break? Walk around the building twice, fill up your java and get back to it.
If you like T.V., then instead of sitting for the entire 60 minutes, realize that only 48 minutes or less is the actual program. During every commercial, get up and do something. Jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups, crunches, or just pace the living room.
See? This is not hard, nor is it earth shattering, but it is about teaching your body to move and be active. It is about burning calories instead of storing them. Your body becomes what you teach it to be every single day. Teach it to MOVE.
People say I never sit still. Nope. Always be moving, never miss a chance to exercise, unless of course, you are sleeping.