Non-exercise activity as important as formal exercise

Workout Anytime
Greg Maurer

Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body, but formal exercise is not the whole story! This becomes particularly important as we age because many experience injuries that limit their ability to exercise for long periods of time on a consistent basis.

So how can we boost our daily calorie burn without exercising to avoid weight gain and stay healthy? As it turns out non-exercise movement – aka – non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is as important as formal exercise. This scientific term refers to all movement – not just exercise and it all counts!

NEAT includes all movement including but not limited to:

Taking groceries from your car into your house

Going up and down stairs in your home during the normal course of the day

Taking your dog for a walk

Standing up and stretching during the course of the day.

Research shows that formal exercise does not necessarily compensate for many hours of inactivity, and that people who have higher levels of NEAT can often be leaner than exercisers who spend of the rest of their day sitting on a couch!

How Can You Increase NEAT?

It is actually very simple to increase your NEAT and make a big difference in your waistline in the process!     Here are some examples:

  1. Redesign your day around movement – Look around your home or office and see where you spend most of your time,Then consider what you are doing in terms of movement.     Target opportunities to move more WITHOUT exercising such as:
  2. Taking a flight of stairs instead of an elevator
  3. Parking your car at the far end of the parking lot and walking back and forth to go to and from.
  4. Track your steps using a phone or tracker and look at your totals 4 times a day and take “movement breaks” to increase your step count.
  5. Prioritize doing household chores that involve movement
  6. Vacuuming
  7. Doing laundry – particularly if you have to go up and down stairs to access washer and dryer then put away clothing!
  8. Dusting
  9. Taking out the trash
  10. Gardening
  11. Walking to and from your mailbox
  12. Become a fidgeter!
  13. Consciously move more – even when sitting – tap your feet as you listen to music
  14. Stretch in your chair
  15. Stand several times each hour
  16. Consider setting an hourly alarm and moving around walking around your home or office.
  17. Take calls on your cell phone while walking around your home or office.
  18. Do a set of 10 air squats after all meals

Believe it or not the science is very clear – you can make a big difference in your waistline and your health by consciously moving more throughout your day WITHOUT exercise.    Even better do both!

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