Here’s a very cool concept for people who hate exercise but want to be more fit: think NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). The idea here is to keep your body moving regularly by doing your usual tasks but with more physical activity.
The goal is to take sedentary people and get them to consciously think about moving more by adding little bits of movement into their everyday lives. Here are some examples:
- Make your bed every day
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
- Park far from your destination and walk
- Run local errands by foot instead of taking the car
- Sweep instead of vacuum where appropriate
- Deliver an item to a co-worker instead of sending it via internal mail
- Walk to a restaurant a little further away for lunch
- Play with your kid in the park instead of just sitting on the bench
- Chop your own veggies instead of buying pre-cut ones
- In general, sit less
You get the idea. Basically, if you’re not sleeping, seated, or doing a focused workout, then you’re doing NEAT. According to researcher James Levine, MD, PhD, “People who can switch on their NEAT are able to remain thin, despite periods of overfeeding.” Levine found that overweight people tend to sit for nine hours a day and naturally thin people sit for only seven and a half. Even fidgeting counts as NEAT.
So don’t just think of your workouts as an opportunity to burn some calories. Doing a little bit here and there, all the time, is a great way to keep your metabolism high and your waistline svelte. Every little bit, literally, helps.
Do you think you move less or move more than most people? Have you caught yourself fidgeting a lot? Do you like to do day-to-day tasks that require a little bit of movement? Does this give you a new attitude towards housework?
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