Although we all tend to focus a lot on workouts and how they can help us get fitter, healthier and stronger, they’re not the only factor in reaching our goals and building a healthier lifestyle.
One simple way to help you get a step up on your goals and add more movement to your day is to think about your non-exercise activity thermogenesis, also known as NEAT, too.
What is NEAT?
NEAT refers to the energy expended (calories burned) for everything you do that isn’t sleeping, eating or exercise. This can be things such as walking to the shops, cleaning the house, walking to the kitchen to grab lunch, taking the stairs instead of the lift or even fidgeting while sat at your desk.
Why is NEAT so important to keep fit and healthy?
Your NEAT is a large contributor to your total daily energy expenditure (total calories burned) as it takes into consideration all movement throughout the day in comparison to only calories burned through a single workout.
Workouts are still hugely important to help with strength, stability, mobility and cardiovascular fitness — but these small bits of movement are super important too.
That’s because NEAT increase the calories your body burns, and also prompts you to be more active in your day-to-day life, significantly reducing the health risks associated with being sedentary.
Evidence also suggests that sitting for prolonged periods of time can slow down your metabolism, reduce your body’s ability to burn fat and also increase your blood pressure and peak blood sugar levels. So, taking small steps to move more throughout the day as well as regular exercise can drastically improve your overall wellbeing and health.
Give these seven simple tips a go to increase your daily NEAT and help keep your body fit and healthy.
Take the stairs
Instead of jumping in a lift or on the escalator switch it up and take the stairs instead. Work your quads, hamstrings and glutes and raise your heart rate too as you pop upstairs to your next meeting or head to the shops. This simple switch is a great way to add more movement into your day.
Dance whenever you can
Everybody loves a little boogie, right? What if we told you that your little dance solo in your kitchen while you cook your tea or singing and dancing in the shower all counts towards your NEAT.
We are all in need of a smile right now, so stick your favourite song on and just let yourself dance and vibe away to 3 minutes of uninterrupted happiness! Not only will you be adding to your daily movement, but you’ll also feel great after it too.
Stand and move in TV ad breaks
Next time you’re having a Netflix binge or watching your favourite tv show jump up and move around in the ad or episode breaks. Go grab a drink from the kitchen, or even just pace around your living room. Breaking the cycle of sitting for prolonged periods works wonders for your health, and your calorie burn too.
Do household chores
Whether you love it or hate it, household chores also class as a way to increase your NEAT. Changing the beds, washing your car, making your tea or tidying up after your kids all add up as daily movement to help you become a healthier version of you.
Even better why not stick your favourite playlist on and dance around while you vacuum the house or mop the floors. An upbeat tempo song will help you pick up the pace of the activity and have greater health benefits in the long run!
Pace while talking on the phone
On hold to the bank for the past half an hour? Or just having your weekly catch up with your bestie? Try to pace or move about while talking on the phone rather than sitting down for the full convo. Many of us sit down for prolonged periods for our day job, so it’s important to try and break that cycle where you can.
We know it’s been tough to get your steps in during lockdown, but with restrictions easing it’s time to get those feet shuffling again.
If you can, switch it up and walk to the gym, the shops or to work instead of driving, or even get off the bus a stop early to get some daily steps in too. Even pacing up and down in your house counts, so there’s an option for everybody!
Avoid sitting for prolonged periods
Although many of us sit for prolonged periods at a desk for work, it can be beneficial to break that sitting up with periods of movement.
The NHS recommends you set a reminder to get up and move every 30-60 minutes. When it goes off try to consciously get up and stretch your legs — whether it’s a walk to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle or just popping over to a colleague’s desk (if you’re back in the office) instead of sending an email. Every little helps!
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