26 – Movement & NEAT
OK so this is the last week of your programme.
So we’ve gone over Preparing to Change, Slowing Down (How you Eat), Planning Meals, The Nutrition Itself (What you Eat & Drink) and now this week I’m going to tidy it up with a bit of self-care.
Your next few lessons will be about Movement, Sleep, and Mindfulness towards food.
Which are things that are often forgotten about, but very important for your overall health, and not just the aesthetics.
For today though, just take a few minutes to reflect on how far you’ve come over the last few weeks. How do you feel?
And then pat yourself on the back for doing an amazing job!
As a society we sit. A lot.
Think about your typical day. You get up in the morning and drive to work. You sit at your desk most of the day with the very occasional interruption. Even if you do have a meeting to go to or go eat lunch, you sit there as well!
Then you get back in your car and fight traffic to get home. You sit at the table (or on the couch in front of the tv) for dinner and finish off your day sinking into the couch letting the TV help you forget your day.
Sound familiar at all?
Now it might not be exactly like that but I guarantee you sit more than you think.
With the evolution of our modern workdays, our society has become more and more sedentary.
And our health has declined because of it.
NEAT, or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis means the amount of energy (or calories) you spend when you’re NOT sleeping, or actively exercising… so basically 95% of your waking day.
A good level of NEAT, is important for your overall well being, and especially important if you have a goal to lose weight.
You can take my word for it, or read a more in-depth blog about it here
In the past, we have laborious jobs or were moving through the day. Not anymore.
It has been said sitting is the new smoking. And just as damaging to our health.
Now I can’t say for sure if it is that bad but it has become a major issue for most people.
That is why increasing your NEAT levels is so vital.
And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy.
Think about this. If you work in an office, what if you just set a timer to go off every hour. Once it goes off, you walk around the office for five minutes. That’s it. Just get up out of your chair and walk.
If you did that six times per day, you have your 30 minutes right there. And guess what? You would also be more productive!
Taking mini breaks throughout your day has been shown to increase productivity, mental stimulation and overall focus.
So today when you are staring at your computer screen all day, try to make a point of taking more breaks and getting in some movement.
5 Ways to Increase NEAT
1. Take the stairs
This is by far the simplest way to expend more energy throughout the day, and the easiest to accomplish. Ditch the elevator. Of course, if you work on the 10th floor, no one expects you to crawl your way to your desk every morning. But if you have just a few flights, go the old fashioned way – by foot. Or take the elevator to the 6th floor and hike the last four.
2. Get a standing desk
We already know that our occupation is one of the reasons our NEAT is so low. If you spend the majority of your day at your desk, you might as well be standing. While the number of calories expended standing at your desk vs sitting is not massive, you’ll be much more likely to move around if you’re already on your feet rather than slouched in your office chair. You might take more trips to the water cooler and subsequently more trips to the bathroom. You may pop over to your co-worker to tell them something rather than e-mail them. In addition, you will be doing yourself a massive favour when it comes to your posture. Sitting for long stretches of time can cause both back and neck pain.
3. Break up your day
Break up your day with short walks or trips. Maybe walk a few streets to the second nearest coffee shop instead of the one directly next to your building. Or just get up and go for a 10-15 minute stroll every few hours to get your legs working. Once you get into the habit of it, you’ll crave the movement. Sitting for hours on end will feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
4. Shop in Person
Yes, the Internet has made our lives infinitely more convenient and saves us tons of time. But it can also make our lives too convenient.
If you need groceries, physically go to the actual shop. Stroll through the aisles; carry your groceries in from the car. This is old fashioned, I know, but there’s really no reason to constantly use online shopping delivery sites. If you want to order a book, make your way to your nearest bookshop and pick it up rather than ordering it. How many time have you had to send clothes back because they didn’t fit right? Avoid that by going into the shop to try it on yourself. Simple chores keep you moving and can also bring simple pleasures.
5. Parking Spaces
If you drive anywhere, park further away from the door. Keep an umbrella in the car so you don’t have to use bad weather as an excuse to find the closest spot.
I’m going to chat about proper sleep in the next lesson. Catch you then!