Daily physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and achieving weight loss goals. Alternately, a lack of physical activity decreases circulation and slows metabolism. Decreased circulation can lead to tight muscles and an increased risk of muscle strain. And a slowed metabolism can cause weight gain.
If you have a full-time job, you know how hard it can be to find time to exercise outside of working hours. If you have a desk job, you know how sedentary your working hours can become. You know physical activity is important to your health and weight loss goals, but where can you fit it in?
Fortunately, there are simple ways to fit bouts of physical activity in your daily routine that can have a big impact on your waistline. According to a study reported by Health.com, a process called non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT, which involves burning calories with everyday movements “accounts for between 15 percent (for very sedentary people) to about 50 percent (among the very active) of daily energy expenditure.”
To increase your NEAT, simply add more opportunities into your workday to move. For example:
- Take a break every 1-2 hours. You’ve probably heard before that it’s important to take breaks from your computer screen to minimize eye strain. It’s also important to take breaks from sitting in a static position. Increase circulation by standing up and moving around for a minute or so during your screen breaks.
- Stretch. During your computer and chair breaks, take a moment to stretch your muscles. This can help improve circulation and reduce risk of muscle strain.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. It doesn’t take much more time, and it can make a difference.
- Fidget. Moving constantly is going to burn calories constantly, and every little bit helps.
- Have walking meetings. These meetings should be conducted at a slow pace—about 1.1 miles an hour. The time will give you a nice break from your desk , and help you add some easy activity to your day.
- Replace your chair with an exercise ball. It will tone your core while improving your balance.
As an added bonus, adding frequent activity to your routine can stave off sleepiness and increase mind clarity. Losing weight and staying healthy doesn’t have to mean spending hours at the gym. Little movements throughout the workday can add up to significant results.
Photo by jnyemb