Three Ways to Fit in More NEAT

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Three Ways to Fit in More NEAT

Three Ways to Fit in More Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis “NEAT” 

What is Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis you may ask?  Well, it’s the everyday non-exercise physical activity we do that isn’t structured, or continuous, or planned, or intense enough to be considered exercise.  Things like housework, mowing the lawn, walking for less than 20 minutes, dusting, vacuuming, or doing a few quick stretches at your desk count as physical activity, and not exercise.

Why is this non-exercise physical activity important?

The figure above shows the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

We see that about 70% of our TDEE goes towards our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).  This is just the amount of energy it takes to keep us alive and all our organs functioning before we begin to move.  The only way to really get the BMR to increase is to gain more muscle mass – but we’ll talk about that in another article.
Approximately 5-8% of our TDEE is spent on the Thermic Effect of Food, or the energy it takes to metabolize our food.  Coincidentally, this number increases along with more whole foods ingested, versus processed ones.
Around another 8-10% of our TDEE is spent on intentional exercise, or Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.  We can bump this percentage up with more difficult or prolonged workouts, but in general, there is a limit to how much exercise we can perform without burnout, injury, soreness, or overcompensating for energy loss at the dining room table.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or non-exercise physical activity, can count for up to 20% of our TDEE.  That’s just things like taking 2-minute walk breaks or making a conscious effort to move more.  What’s more interesting, is that studies show adding spurts of physical activity to your day can help to lift your mood, and enhance cognition in addition to helping you burn a few more calories.

Now that we know a bit more about non-exercise physical activity, here are 3 great ways to get more:
1.  Schedule it into your day!  It’s all too easy to press into our work for hours on end. It feels so good to finish projects and make a good deal of headway at work, however doing so regularly, and neglecting our body (even if we make it a habit to exercise regularly) can really put a damper on our energy expenditure, as well as our flexibility, posture, low back and lower body health! 

So, try thinking about your day.  What is the sweet spot for you and your productivity?  1 hour? 2 hours? 3 hours?  Don’t try to sit in one place much longer than this before taking a break to take a little walk and give your cells some oxygen.

Whatever works for you, schedule it into your day, put it into your calendar and sync it across all of your devices. This is your “me” time. Time for you to take 2-5 minutes to move a little, take a quick walk around the office, stretch at your desk, maybe do a few planks, just do what works for you!

Think Steps. Take the stairs, park in the farthest part of the lot, do more chores 
In general, step counters assess your current level of physical activity. They are quite helpful, especially the more advanced watch versions where users can remind themselves to get a certain number of steps each hour.  This is certainly one way to get more steps but don’t worry if you do not want to be ruled by technology, they aren’t necessary.  Here are a few ways to get more steps: 
1. Walk around while brushing your teeth, or drying dishes. 
2. Skip the drive-through, and go inside the bank, or Starbucks, etc. 
3. Take the stairs instead of elevators. 
4. Use the furthest restroom, or one on a different floor. 
5. Park in the farthest spot in the lot. 
6. Stand up at your desk and march in place from time to time. 
7. Take a quick post-meal walk! It’s great for digestion and helps to control your blood sugar. 
8. Take extra trips when bringing in groceries. 
9. Learn a new dance step!

Start Stretching!  Steps and exercises are great, but let’s not neglect stretching!  Especially as we get older, our bodies prefer to settle into postures that require the least amount of work from us, and this can result in a lot of extra strain.  So if we’re going to move, we may as well kill two birds with one stone.  Here are a few stretches you can do anywhere: 
Cat-Cow stretch in a chair 
 Image result for cat cow stretch chair yoga
Banana stretch (be sure to do both sides!) 
 Image result for QL stretch in chair

Downward facing dog at your chair or desk
Image result for downward dog chair

In addition, I strongly encourage you to challenge yourself to learn one yoga pose per day!  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it just has to cause you to take a few minutes to break up your day and do something good for your body.

Cheers to burning more calories without more sweat!    
Posted: 9/29/2021 9:13:49 AM by Saturn Club | with 0 comments

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