There are 168 hours in a week and if your health and fitness are important to you, you’ll
need to assure that an adequate amount of that time is spent moving your body. The good news is that if you’re smart about your approach, you won’t have to spend hours at the gym.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the amount of calories we expend from activity that is not exercise related. If we move our bodies more throughout our day-to-day activities, our caloric expenditure increases significantly. If you exercise three hours per week but then are a slug the rest of your waking hours, your health won’t be as optimal. Instead, consider how you can be more active throughout the day, even when you are not exercising.
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The problem is we have simply become too sedentary, especially during this last year of isolation and the global pandemic lockdowns. The age of technology is making us fat. Escalators, elevators, remote controls, garage door openers, computers, home banking, internet shopping, restaurant delivery are all conveniences we use that are causing us to dramatically reduce our daily movement.
The International Journal on Obesity estimates that we expend 500-800 calories less per day than we did a few decades ago. Labor-saving devices and technology that are supposed to be making life easier are in fact making our health and our lives a lot worse. Our current rate of obesity in the USA is 42% – that means almost half of our country are considered extremely overweight and will be at risk for various health issues including heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, musculo-skeletal aches and pains and more.
Consider and commit to simple ways to increase daily caloric expenditure without actually & exercising:
Park one or two blocks away from wherever you’re going and walk
Walk or cycle if your destination is less than 20 minutes away
Always park in the farthest parking stall instead of hunting for the perfect spot right in front of the shop
Take the stairs if you need to go fewer than 5 flights
Take a 10-minute walk before work, at lunch or after dinner
Schedule active outings with your family or friends (hiking, cycling, walking, swimming, kayaking, indoor rock-climbing)
Do a few mini squats or heel raises while making dinner
Do a few light exercises during TV commercials
At work, get up, move and stretch every 30 minutes. (Your back will thank you for it too.)
Sign up for a course (gardening, ballroom dancing, pottery); it will keep you busy and get you out of the house
One study at the University of South Carolina found that we expend approximately 10 calories less per day as a result of just using remote controls. A reduction of 10 calories does not sound like a lot but 10 calories here and 15 calories there – it all adds up. It is easy to see how people are putting weight on so easily and quickly. In order to lose or gain one point of fat, you need to expend or consume 3500 calories. Bottom line, it is a lot easier to eat 3,500 excess calories (can be done in one meal) than it is to expend 3,500 calories (about 6 hours of exercise).
Ask yourself – If you are exercising three hours per week, what are you doing the other 165 hours? How you spend the time outside of your exercise sessions will make a huge difference to your overall health and results. Being active throughout the day will not take up any more of your time but you will end up expending more calories and feeling a lot better!
Yours in health & fitness,
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