Have you ever found yourself circling the parking lot to find the “best” spot…at the gym?? Did you ever stop to think that since you are there for a workout anyways, you might as well get in a few extra steps? Chances are you thought about it, but decided you didn’t have the time.

These days we are all about efficiency: efficient offices (sitting all day), efficient communication (e-mail), efficient appliances (that do all the work for us), and efficient commutes (driving everywhere). I drive most places even though I have a Target less than a mile away. We also have an elevator in our apartment building, and I have to talk myself out of taking it.

With the modernization of household and work-related tasks, we aren’t required to move as much throughout the day as our ancestors did. Instead we sit all day and tell ourselves we need to hit the gym HARD to make up for our lifestyle, but can working out for an hour a day even make up for the relative physical inactivity many of us have chosen during the remaining 23 hours of the day?

What if there was a different way? What if we could incorporate movement into our days little by little?  

NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is one way our body burns calories and in turn, boosts our metabolism.

Exercise is by definition planned, structured and repetitive physical activity aimed to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. NEAT fitness is simply daily activities that require bodily movement. Studies have shown that lean individuals tend to have more NEAT in their day than overweight or obese individuals. These little movements add up over time..so let’s take a cue from our lean friends!

It’s not tough to incorporate these types of movement into your day. Try adding some of these activities or increasing their frequency in the following week to help boost your metabolism:

  • Taking the stairs
  • Doing the dishes
  • Vacuuming
  • Parking further away and walking
  • Walking the dog
  • Getting up from your desk once an hour to walk around
  • Window shopping with friends
  • Taking out the trash or recycling
  • Rearranging your furniture
  • Cleaning out your closet
  • Scrubbing the toilet
  • Folding clothes
  • Yardwork
  • Chasing your kids around (or the neighbor’s kids…preferably with their permission)
  • Walking instead of using the moving ramp at the airport
  • Cooking or baking from scratch
  • Fidgeting (who’d have thought my annoying leg jiggling habit was actually doing me some good?)

The funny thing about this list is that these might be things you are avoiding but need to get done. Attempting to do physical work around the house or enjoying some fun with your loved ones can actually benefit your health and boost your metabolism!

So the next time your honey asks you to take out the trash, you will jump up and do it with a smile, right?

How can you incorporate NEAT into your life?
Do you make an effort to get up once an hour if you sit all day?

You Might Also Enjoy:
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Sources: Essentials of Life Cycle Nutrition by Judith Sharlin et al, Lifetime Physical Fitness & Wellness by Werner W. K. Hoeger et al

Originally posted 2013-08-14 09:00:47.


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