So today’s post is directly taken from Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen’s program Take Shape For Life. I’m sure other doctors follow this line of thought as well, but this is the first time I’ve really heard much on this subject and it makes so much sense! Just a little background, Dr. A recommends building Habits of Health which include categories like: healthy eating, healthy sleep, and healthy motion. All of these habits lead to reduced stress and overall increased health.
What I love about the healthy motion category is that Dr. A makes it so simple. YES, a regular exercise routine is important to maintain a healthy weight and to keep our body performing at its best, but there are some really simple things that we can easily incorporate in our day even before we incorporate a regular exercise routine. This is accomplished through what is called the NEAT System.
The NEAT System
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (calorie burning). It’s a way to burn more calories by making slight changes to the movements you make in your regular day.
Beyond weight loss, increasing your physical activity level will help you prevent the diseases and health complications that we discussed earlier, and it will ripple into other areas of your life as well. You will find yourself sleeping better, and you will probably find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled, because exercise has been shown to release endorphins and to eat up the chemicals produced by stress. It also gives us time to be with ourselves and become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.
You can begin to enjoy these rewards without an intense workout routine. The Habits of Motion are accessible, and they will help you to rethink your daily choices. Armed with just a few principles, you can adjust a series of few—seemingly very small—choices to take your health in an entirely new direction.
The Six NEAT Categories are:
Stance: When the muscles that support your body’s core axis—the chest, shoulders, back, legs, and abdominals—are aligned properly, they create balance throughout your body. Focusing on these foundational muscles helps you burn more calories and provides great training for your transition into more exercise. Think about your posture at the office, in the car, and at home.
Standing: Merely moving from sitting to standing can substantially increase your energy consumption. When you stand, you begin to use weight-bearing muscles. Try to stand more in the office, on the computer, or on the phone, and stand even while you’re at home making dinner or watching television.
Strolling (Walking): Walking in terms of the six S’s is done outside of any formal walking programs (which are also useful). You can incorporate more walking into your routine by going to the water cooler, walking down the hall to speak with a coworker instead of emailing them, or by walking around the mall.
Stairs: Stairs are a great way to accelerate your energy expenditure. In fact, climbing just one flight of stairs is the equivalent of walking 100 steps. Therefore, climbing ten flights of stairs gives you the same benefit as a half mile of walking.
Samba: Never pass up an opportunity to enjoy the rhythm of a song. If you can’t take a moment to dance, tap your pencil or foot or even sing to yourself. With music, you can activate your brain as well as your muscles.
Switch: Do things by hand instead of by machine. Wash your dishes by hand, stand up to change the channel, and put away the electric knives.
So, although I am going to continue to try to get in healthy activity in my daily routine, I’m also going to focus on the NEAT activities and try to make long-lasting healthy habits of motion! Pretty neat, huh?