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Fidget Your Way to Weight Loss? Sounds NEAT

February 26th, 2010 No comments

Burn calories without workouts

Some people naturally burn as many as 350 extra calories per day - not because they exercise more and not because they have faster metabolisms. They can do it because of something called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). And the good news is it’s something we can do too.

What the heck is NEAT?
I’ll start with the basics of how we use energy throughout the day. Our basal metabolic rate (BMR) describes the energy expended by our bodies when we are completely at rest. Each of us has an individual BMR that tells us how many calories our bodies need just to perform the most basic functions.

After that energy is used to digest, absorb and store food, which is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Finally our bodies expend energy through something called activity thermogenesis, which can be exercise or non-exercise related.

You may be surprised to hear that most people burn fewer calories through exercise than they do through NEAT. That’s because exercise is often a once daily (or less for some people) calorie-burning spurt, while NEAT describes the calories we burn through any sort of activity all day long.

According to the Mayo Clinic people who are very sedentary may only be able to credit NEAT for 15 percent of their total daily energy (calorie) expenditure, while in active individuals it can account for up to 50 percent.

Things that affect your NEAT
Occupation - People with active jobs can burn up to 1,000 calories more per day than those with sedentary jobs. But you’re not a hopeless case if you’ve got a desk job. Get up often to take short walks around the office or walk to a co-worker’s cubicle to give them a message instead of using email. If you’ve got a really great boss, convince them that a standing desk will boost your productivity.
Leisure time - Do you spend most lounging in front of the TV, or are you always moving? I’m not saying you have to go outside for a run, just puttering around your yard or organizing a closet can elevate your daily energy expenditure.
Fidgeting - People with fidgeting habits - whether they gesture with their hands while they talk, bounce a leg while they sit or twirl their hair around a finger - might just have discovered the secret to staying in shape. These people are constantly in motion. Even though it may not seem like much, a day full of fidgeting can really add up.

What you can do to take advantage of NEAT
Since NEAT is a combination of everything you do throughout the day, it’ll take a lot of lifestyle adjusting to get the full benefits, but there are many easy ways to start.
Use a push or manual mower when you’re cutting the lawn
Avoid drive-through windows
Choose stairs over elevators
• If you must watch television do a bit of household tidying at each commercial, and change channels without using the remote.
Get a little restless - If you have the urge to move your hands, feet or other body parts don’t fight it
Laugh out loud, and do it often
Tell great stories - the more wild gestures the better
Stand instead of sitting whenever possible

My 10 Minute Mile

May 9th, 2009 No comments

Since I've decided this is the year to improve my long-distance running skills, I've been thinking a lot about speed issues. As it stands, I can run continuosly for 10 minutes. And using the word run is being pretty generous. It feels like more of a jog or possibly even a quick walk. I'm used to running fast and for very short periods of time. Sprinting has always been my preference, ever since I was 10 years old and bringing home ribbons from track and field. Back then, much like today, I was fairly impressive for short bursts of effort but completely miserable when it came to running more than half the school track.

So to find out how the speed of my new long-distance efforts measure up I again turned to the trusty Gmaps Pedometer website. Turns out the answer is pretty good. I marked the spot my run starts and the point where I consistantly give up and walk. Turns out that 10 minutes takes me to about .97 miles.

In other words I'm pretty darn close to a 10 minute mile and I'm sure next time out I can force those last few steps. There's not a whole lot of consensus on whether a 10-minute mile is all that fast. Some people are pumped when they reach it, while others consider it a starting point. Since I've already confessed my inabilities I'll go with being excited.

Next step, seeing if I can duplicate the results indoors on a treadmill with a one percent incline. That means 10 minutes at 6 MPH. I have a feeling I might not be so motivated when there's no destination. I'll let you know what happens.

What's your mile time?

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Keeping your routine

May 6th, 2009 No comments

rkouts. I don't want to burn out or get sick. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

I will get out again when I get used to my new routine, but the most important thing is that I'm not discouraged. Actually, I don't think I'd be that discouraged if my reasons for not running were more about laziness than conflicting workouts.

I'm always hitting ruts in my routine, whether it's not wanting to lift weights for two weeks in a row or letting cardio go by the wayside. I feel confident because I know I will bounce back. I give myself a break and then get right back into my routine, which I believe is the key to my success. If I felt down about it I'd probably just give up altogether and my attempts to eat healthy would go out the window as well.

I'll quit rambling and get to the point. So what if you didn't make it to the gym this week. So what if you ate that entire bag of chips. Don't beat yourself up about it. You took a break from your healthy routine but the important thing is that you get back to it and don't make small failures an excuse to give up.