Ideally, we’d all be given an extra hour each day to exercise. But don’t fret! Follow the NEAT approach to exercise to top up your gym visits, and you’ll burn more calories and create a healthier lifestyle.
What is NEAT?
Neat (Non Exercise Energy Thermogenesis) is energy expended for non-exercise activities outside of any formal session. This includes taking a walk, bending, playing a musical instrument, gardening, shopping and even fidgeting. Basically, anything except being sedentary.
Here are some NEAT ways to add activity to your daily life:
- Exercise while commuting. Walk or bike to work if possible. If not, try to use public transport which at least requires a short walk at either end. If you really have to drive, park as far away as possible. At least you get 5 minutes exercise you wouldn’t otherwise.
- Walk while you work. If you have a desk job, take a walking break at least once an hour. Stand up to talk when you’re on the phone. Walk up the stairs instead of using the lift. Some workplaces hold ‘walking meetings’. Strolling along the hall as you chat can be more productive and accumulates minutes without noticing.
- Have a ball. Sitting on an exercise ball at home or work makes you use your core muscles constantly. Try it anytime you should be sitting. For example, while watching TV, eating, folding washing.
- Drink lots of water. This honestly works! Sipping water throughout the day means you have a guilt-free reason to get up to use the toilet regularly. Go to the furthest bathroom to crank it up a notch.
- Wear a pedometer . There’s nothing like a running tally of your steps to get you moving. Challenge yourself to reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day and see what a difference it makes.
What about your gym sessions? Keep at it – people who exercise live longer, healthier lives. But activity shouldn’t end at the gym. NEAT is definitely the perfect gym partner for life.