So you got your workout in. That means you have the rest of the day to sit around and relax, right? Well, not quite.
Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and lose weight, but under most circumstances, it only accounts for a small portion of the calories we burn a day.
For example, running for 30 minutes at 6 mph burns roughly 342 calories for a woman who weighs 135 lbs and 441 calories for a 175-pound male.
So what uses up the rest of our calories when we’re not exercising? A neat little thing called NEAT. It stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and it is the energy we expend on anything that isn’t exercise, sleeping, or eating. That includes everything from walking to and from the bathroom to brushing your teeth to fidgeting. Even the most minute activity counts towards your daily NEAT.
NEAT is why it’s important to take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s why you should park farther away and get up from sitting every so often. The majority of what we burn a day is the culmination of these little activities. When you’re trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to look at your overall activity level, not just how much you workout. A one-hour workout is not going to balance out 23 hours of being sedentary.
That’s why we encourage our members and clients to start walking. The biggest objection we hear is, “But isn’t that a waste of time?” No, it’s not! Believe it or not, those steps add up. And think about it, when given the option to walk or sit, which do you think will bring you closer to your goals? Not every activity has to be an all-out sweat-fest to produce results. Even standing versus sitting can make a marked difference in how many calories you burn. Besides fat loss, moving more has significant health benefits, like lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving posture.
To get started, a pedometer is helpful in gauging how much activity you’re getting a day. Aiming for 10,000 steps is a common suggestion, although any increase in activity is beneficial.
So think about it, how much do you actually MOVE in a day?