Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine
5 Ways to Build Incidental Activity Levels Every Day
It's pretty common knowledge that regular exercise is good for our health. Still, most of us only focus on activities such as going to the gym, attending classes, running, or lifting weights. These can be pretty foreign to us if we haven't always been avid exercisers. There's also another much more subtle way to be more active.
It's called incidental physical activity and can significantly impact your long-term success after Bariatric Surgery.
NEAT is the key to actual sustained results
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to any form of unstructured activity we do that expends energy. Think:
Eating. Yes, digesting good food takes energy!
Hanging out the washing, and
Sleeping - YES, sleeping is an activity :)
And doing a gym workout or boxing class or a cardio workout at the gym burns energy - but it's important to note that:
NEAT makes up almost three-quarters of our daily energy expenditure.
Factors that influence the amount of NEAT in your day vary. They include environmental conditions like ambient temperature.
For example, when you're feeling a little cold, your body is working to maintain temperature. Your muscles will contract to create more heat - and this uses ENERGY! The same goes for when you are hot, and your body is working on producing sweat to cool you down.
Biological factors like height, weight, and fat mass versus muscle mass contribute to how much energy you burn at rest (your basal metabolic rate). Adding muscle to your frame is awesome for building a healthy metabolism. Other influences include occupation and working hours, which may contribute to stress, sleep, and time spent doing structured exercise.
Overall, it's easier than you might think to increase the energy you burn in a day. And then you won't have to squeeze hours and hours a week of structured exercise as you would imagine the only way to lose weight and keep it off.
Start living an active lifestyle a few small steps at a time!
People who move more will have better physical health, which starts a snowball effect physically, mentally, and physiologically. Once you're moving more, you'll inherently feel more energetic, motivated, and optimistic about yourself.
So the best thing to do is to set mini goals if this is all new to you or you are in the recovery stages by committing to one or two small changes to your daily routine at a time. Here are some social examples of incorporating into your daily life:
- Meet a friend and take your dogs for a walk together and get coffee at your favorite cafe.
- Wander through a museum or art gallery with a friend.
- Choose a restaurant within walking distance from home and meet a friend, so you walk there and back.
- If you have family overseas or in other states, plan your phone calls for a time when you can take a walk at the same time.
- Replace going to happy hour with going to a dance class!
5 Easy Ways to Incorporate More Incidental
Physical Activity in Your Daily Routine
1. Problem: You spend much of your time at your desk on the phone. Solution: Holding three walking conversations each day.
2. Problem: You work long hours and have family commitments. Solution: Keep a pair of walking shoes at work to take a stroll during your lunch break.
3. Problem: You spend long hours at work followed by kids' activities after school hours. Solution: Who says you have to watch your kids practice sports from the bench? While they do soccer drills, do laps around the field to burn extra calories!
4. Problem: Being active is not something you've been committed to. Solution: It's common for people to think the only way to stay active is by hours on the elliptical or treadmill in a gym. However, physical activity options are endless!
You can do anything from taking a dance class, swimming, enjoying the outdoors with a brisk walk or hike, or yoga. Try different activities until you find something that gives you joy. Then, you will look forward to exercising and will likely stick with a consistent routine!
5. Problem: You spend a long time in the car commuting to and from work. Solution: Explore the city you live and use public transport more often. This increases incidental exercise and gives time to clear your head to and from work. Use public bikes and scooters to commute to work.
Being more active doesn't lock you into wearing lycra and sweating it out in the gym. Being more active as part of your day is where the benefits are. Even 10 minutes of activity at different times throughout the day is an incredible way to boost your health, mood, and vitality.
And you know they are now saying sitting is the new smoking!
That's a perfect reason to get on your feet as often as possible!