In 2020 the world came to a halt and people stayed inside their homes to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many jobs shifted to work-from-home and as a result, we sat, a lot. Up to 4 more hours per day than before COVID-19 shutdowns.
It’s known that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a ton of physical and mental health problems including Type 2 Diabetes, depression, and heart disease. But prolonged inactivity, like what some of us experienced in 2020, can lead to back and neck pain, loss of muscle mass, and an increased risk of injuries. Combine that with more frequent trips to the pantry or fridge during the lockdown and it can result in unwanted weight gain.
As the world emerges from COVID restrictions (fingers crossed!!), many people will still work from home at their desk, on the couch, or around the kitchen table. So it is more important than ever to find ways to add more movement to your day and combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
The good news is that movement doesn’t always mean an hour-long sweatfest that requires a change of clothes and a trip to the gym (although that’s great too!). It can be as simple as walking the dog, playing with your kids, or tidying up your house. It’s the everyday NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) movement that can help us burn calories, keep our joints and muscles flexible and fend off some of the pitfalls of sitting all day.
Before discussing NEAT and how to get more of it, it’s important to understand how the body burns calories or energy. While everyone is unique, it’s widely accepted that a person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) burns the majority of their calories. BMR is simply the amount of energy it takes to keep the body alive and functioning, and it accounts for about 60-75% of the calories burned per day. The thermic effect of food (TEF), which is the energy needed to digest and absorb food consumed, is another source of caloric burn and can account for approximately 10% of the body’s metabolism.
The remainder of a person’s calories burned come from activity - both scheduled exercise like walking, running, cycling, and fitness classes, and NEAT which can contribute up to 15-30% of a person’s daily caloric burn.
To demonstrate the power of NEAT, take the example of a 40-year-old woman who weighs 150 lbs. In a single 60-minute HIIT class she may burn up to 500 calories. If the same woman walks her dog for 15 minutes (42 calories), leisurely plays basketball with her child after dinner for 30 minutes (127 calories), and does some light cleaning around the house for 15 minutes (30 calories) she can burn about 200 additional calories.
For someone who is actively trying to lose weight, her total calories expended would be over the 500 that is recommended per day to safely lose 1 pound per week. In addition, she’s participating in functional activities that incorporate movements like pushing, pulling, bending, and twisting which improve strength, balance, and flexibility. Not to mention the benefits she receives from being outside, interacting with her family, and breaking up what could be a long day working from home.
In addition to the added calories burned, NEAT keeps your body moving in a way that can help prevent dangerous chronic diseases, improve quality and longevity of life as well as mental health. Knowing that the extra things we do daily may help us live longer and healthier makes NEAT pretty neat!!! American Council on Exercise - July 2021
SoulShine Schedule for this week - please sign up for classes, thanks! Drop ins - $15, Sign ups - $12
Monday: HIIT @ Woodstock Rec basketball court and on Zoom - 8-9 am (weather looks iffy so if it’s raining we’ll be inside at The Little Theater)
Tuesday: HIIT Yoga Fusion @ Woodstock Rec basketball court and on Zoom - 8-9 am (same as Monday with weather)
Thursday: PiYo @ The Pomfret School basketball court - 8-9 am
Friday: HIIT @ Woodstock Rec basketball court and on Zoom - 8-9 am
As always, recordings are available for all classes.
Kay, that’s it for now. Be well, move your bodies, drink a shitload of water and shine on!!!