Fantastic news you’ve found your flow and are getting into the gym/fitness/exercises classes! But they last an hour then it’s off to work to sit down for 8 hours. It’s the harsh reality of how sedentary our current life styles are. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth going to the gym: it will have huge benefits for your health and fitness goals, but there are plenty of little added extras that can contribute and compliment this new healthy lifestyle.
Let’s consider NEAT, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. These are the calories burnt when you are active but not officially exercising. Walking up the stairs, cleaning the house, walking around the park. Energy used during day to day tasks. This has significantly decreased in recent years especially with the continuous and huge technological advancements. For example, we used to wash our clothes by hand, now its done by the press of a button in a machine. Imagine how much more energy would have been used doing all that washing with our bare hands!
Walking can be one of the easiest ways to incorporate NEAT into your life. Get off the bus, tube, train a stop earlier, walk up the stairs, go out at lunch. Try and have walking meetings, standing up whilst you are on the phone. Go to the toilets on the floor above or below. Why not call a friend or family member in the evening, crack on some headphones and walk around the block, or just walk around the living room if it’s raining outside.
Not only do these simple things increase your NEAT, they enhance mood and productivity after. There is plenty of research to suggest breaking study periods up with small bits of movement can work wonders on concentration and productivity levels (something more employers should consider trying to incorporate into their workforces’ daily routines perhaps?)
Why not do the ironing or try not to resent hanging out the washing. All these little things help increase the energy e.g. calories you burn throughout the day! There are reasons people who are on their feet all day burn more calories, its not because they are officially exercising it is literally just because they are moving more!
Fitness trackers can be a great little extra to help measure your non-exercise activity expenditure. They can give a quantitative aspect to your movement throughout the day, potentially pointing out times of the day you might be able to increase your activity. Although there is no scientific research behind walking 10,000 steps a day it is a good place to start as it is more than manageable for most people Fitness trackers or even just downloading a free app on your phone can help you become more aware of this and encourage you to move more!
These easy little changes/ upgrades however you choose to look at them can help increase your NEAT. Not only will this increase your daily calorie burn through increased energy expenditure, moving more can also have significant positive implications on your health. Suddenly taking the stairs seems little bit more worthwhile!
I used to buy a travel pass for the next zone in and walk the difference to save money. At the time it didn't occur to me that I was also getting my exercise, but now it matters. Good ideas!
This is a good reminder for me when I am getting lazy by taking the lift etc.
I am hot on this stuff. I like to do things the 'old-fashioned' way a lot and think this makes a big difference to my weight and energy levels. I am very slim and have a high metabolism. but I walk to the local shops, carry heavy bags back, make homemade bread and do my own regular housework. It all adds up!