We’ve been told umpteen times how sitting is killing us(and in case you forgot, here’s a refresher on that!) Most upsetting for regular exercisers is that your 45 minute gym session does not offset the 7 hours following when you are sitting at your desk/car/TV. We live in a sedentary-prone world and many of us don’t get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, and are at a loss, thinking dedicated traditional exercise is the only way to burn calories and “be active”.
Now that I’ve sufficiently depressed you, listen up! As ACEfitness.org points out, “Both weight loss and weight maintenance can be made easier with a clear understanding of non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or N.E.A.T.” But just what is N.E.A.T?
You know those days when you walk the dog in the morning, do 4 loads of laundry, make 3 trips to and from the car carrying groceries and finally get your computer room functionally clean? THAT, my friends, is a high does of N.E.A.T. More specifically; any activity outside of exercising, eating and sleeping. Think of those people who pace while they walk, who make multiple trips instead of attempting to carry way more than possible, those who can’t sit for an entire season of Orange is the New Black (Yeah, I don’t know any of that last one, either), but you get the picture.
These little practices make a difference in your daily calorie expenditure, which will have an effect on your waistline. I’m not saying you don’t need exercise, but don’t overlook the benefit of being fidgety! Fitbit or even a simple pedometer can help greatly with this, especially for those who are numbers oriented.
The more you move the better, and perhaps not looking for ways to “exercise”, but ways to “be active” will make it easier to incorporate movement in your daily life. Plus, you’ll end up with a cleaner house.
Here are some ways to up your N.E.A.T factor:
- Walk or bike whenever you can for transportation
- Clean more frequently, but for less time (one aspect/room a day vs. everything once a month…or, let’s face it, a year)
- Take the stairs
- Make multiple trips (groceries, laundry, cleaning)
- Pace or stand when on the phone
- Walk to the farthest bathroom in the house/office
- Standup at the top of each commercial break
- Play with your kids (video games don’t count!)
- Walk at lunch, better yet start a walking group at your office (it’s as simple as asking someone else if they want to join you!)
- Take the dog for a walk instead of letting it out in the yard
- Dance! (alone, with your kids, with friends, etc)
- Walk after work or dinner to catch up with your spouse