Wear clothes to a laundromat, missing the bus and having to walk, or rushing from room to room to tidy up before inviting people to dinner are usually not the essence of humble vanity.
However, it’s time to give yourself some credit. They have one important thing in common with the bike trip or the marathon that you would tell your friends about: they are exercise.
There is actually a name for this kind of secret physical activity: non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. It’s a broad category that includes everything from dog walking and grocery shopping, dishes and closet reorganization.
As one study simply put it: “Activities that create movement will increase calorie expenditure.
NEAT is an important but neglected part of overall physical activity, which is increasingly linked to most aspects of health and longevity. While social and environmental factors help determine how much of this activity we get, there’s also good news – there are ways to work harder on this underrated effort until today.
SCIENCE IN ACTION – If going to the gym and long bike rides are Hollywood movie stars, unplanned, unplanned physical activity is like the team working behind the scenes without getting so much credit.
Based on a 2004 estimate published in the American Journal of Physiology, regular activities – even those we don’t call “exercise” – represent a large portion of our energy expenditure. From 15 to 50 percent of the daily calories we burn specifically come from all the stimulation, cat petting, games, strokes and wiggles we do.
Other calories are burned as part of our “basal metabolic rate” or what happens when we are at rest or asleep, and then there is another small portion devoted to digesting the food. In people in sedentary occupations (read: sitting in front of a computer all day), this basal metabolic rate can be up to 60% of the energy we spend because little energy is expended initially.
WHY IT’S A HACK – With so much emphasis on high-intensity training, cycling, or strength training, it can be easy to overlook the physical activities we do for reasons other than “getting in shape.”
Exercise that increases your heart rate is important, of course, but a popular fitness adage holds true: “the best exercise is the one you will do.”
Incorporating more daily movement might be helpful for someone who has never touched a yoga mat or stepped on a treadmill, for whom the burden of embarking on a HIIT-filled “fitness journey” may seem overwhelming.
“Overall, people need to stay active throughout the day and exercise on top of that,” Remzi Satiroglu, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas, Austin, recounts Reverse. Satiroglu studies cycling and how “core exercise” interacts with more intense workouts.
“Current recommendations for physical activity do not mention the importance of background physical activity as much as we would like,” he explains.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans instead emphasize programmed exercise – providing targets for “moderate” and “vigorous-intensity” aerobic activity. , but only include a small section on the number of steps, with no specific recommendation. The guide’s images also seem to advocate a more programmed physical form: people on treadmills, in gyms, with tennis racquets or soccer balls.
A growing interest in step counting has highlighted the importance of the walking we do throughout the day, but there is even more to this kind of cross-country exercise.
Here are some high added value forms of NEAT (over 100 calories per hour) that come from Move a little, lose a lot, a book co-authored by James Levine, former professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and chairman of the Ipsen Foundation, an organization that studies rare diseases:
- Cleaning of storage / garage space
- Grocery shopping
- Sweep or vacuum
- To go up the stairs
- Pushing a stroller
- Play fetch with the dog
- Gardening or weeding
- Wash the car
- Walking to work
- Watching TV on a standing bike
You’re probably already making at least a handful, but there might be room to fit in a few more.
HOW THIS AFFECTS LONGEVITY – More physical activity is almost always for the better when it comes to living a long, healthy life. But only some of us have access to the time, equipment and resources to engage in what we generally think of as “exercise”.
The spaces we occupy, or our “built environment”, can also erode or increase the chances of staying “fit” over time. In many cases, the necessities of daily living mean that many people will derive their exercise from daily activities, especially if they live in low-income countries.
Where we live can affect all types of physical activity, but especially NEAT. For example, making the choice to walk or cycle to work depends largely on the distance to be traveled, and the presence of cycle paths or sidewalks. Swimming for fun won’t work without a pool, or walking in a park where the only public space is a shopping mall.
On the other hand, “active design” in architecture can stealthily encourage movement – by moving a cafeteria away from offices, for example, or creating a staircase so fun that everyone wants to climb it.
While the type of exercise we get isn’t necessarily a choice, we have more than a little control over our unscheduled exercise: little things like household projects, parking farther away and walking, or starting an exercise. small garden with the space you have available can add up.
It’s pretty NATURAL.
HACK SCORE OUT OF 10 – (7/10)