So many people complain about their weight, try various diets and exercise programs only to remain frustrated by their weight gain. Most of us recognize that our lifestyles over the years have gone from being active to relatively sedentary with jobs that require us to sit for most of the day. This lack of movement represents 1,500-2,000 calories not being burned each day compared to a day that includes everyday activities such as meal preparation and housework.
Well, here is a concept that may help you if you have this challenge: Be NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Or, easier to remember, non exercise activities throughout the day. NEAT is as simple as standing, turning, and bending. Research proves that daily NEAT activity burns more calories than a half hour running on the treadmill. The concept of moving is not novel. Authorities on health have been encouraging people to get more exercise any way they can for years now and walking 10,000 steps a day has become a nationwide challenge! One reason that sitting is so detrimental to your health and causes weight gain is because being sedentary burns so few calories and slows down your metabolism. That represents 60-75% of your daily energy expenditure. Combine this with the fact that metabolism slows down with age and can amount to 2-3 pounds per year of weight gain if you do nothing about it, and you have a recipe for weight gain and a cost to your health. Given the fact that many people say they don’t have time to exercise, perhaps we should shift our focus to creating more hours of activity every day. Here are some ideas for you to try:
Katy Bowman’s who wrote MovementMatters suggests these things:
• Walk anywhere you can! To work, the grocery store, with your children, to lunch, to socialize.
• Prepare your own meals of real, whole foods. They require movement to prepare, require chewing and mindful eating, and are high in fiber that causes your gut to move in order to digest your food.
• Appreciate nature. Go on hikes, join a hiking, biking or birding club. Learn to garden. Raise your own proteins like eggs, small animals and legumes.
• Play. Be childlike and skip, dance, and enjoy park equipment.
James O. Hill, PhD and Holly R. MD, wrote State of Slim and suggest you adopt a “Colorado Mind-Set” with these four tools:
• Find your motivation. Why is this (moving/weight loss/good health) important to you?
• Expect success and cultivate the attitude that healthy living is nourishing, happy and self-affirming.
• Make healthy decisions automatic and plan your activities and nutrition in advance.
• Create a supportive environment by seeking out others who are active and then follow their lead.
General suggestions are:
• Raise your desk to standing height.
• Sit on an unstable surface.
• Create excuses to walk, such as at meetings, to socialize or to enjoy nature.
• Set your alarm as a reminder to get up and walk or climb a flights of stairs.
• Put supplies in inconvenient places that cause you to stand or squat in order to reach them.
• Get down on the floor to put on your shoes, read or eat—it forces you to sit in a new position and rise from ground-level.
You can also move in your own space:
Go to this Washington Post website for a collection of workouts at work:
. It has exercises such as “Raise the Roof," knee-lifts, hamstring curls, “Hallelujah” and squats that take very little space.
Movement is one important element to maintaining your weight and remaining healthy. We were designed to move. Take some time to see how you can be NEAT! Your waist and health will thank you!