Maximizing physical activity when you are in a sedentary job can be a challenge. This sounds pretty cliché but human beings are made for activity, we aren’t made for sitting long hours and doing nothing. Now, that there is a guideline for doing 10,000 steps a day which is a good indicator that you are active throughout the day, we should also check whether the 10k steps are done at once or slowly through the day. If you keep moving along through the day you might add in a few more thousand steps to your 10K and the process is called increasing your NEAT (Nonexercise activity thermogenesis).
NEAT contributes to 15% of the Total Daily Energy Expenditure. When your fitness tracker shows you the number of calories expended through the day that is your total daily energy expenditure.
TDEE = Non resting energy expenditure (NRE) (30%) + resting energy expenditure ( REE)(70%)
NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis comes under Non-Resting Energy Expenditure constituting 15% of the TDEE. The remaining 10% is the thermic effect of food and 5% is Exercise Activity Thermogenesis i.e energy expended during exercise.
What is included in NEAT?
All activities that we tend to do throughout the day are counted in NEAT. For example
Walking is good for the heart but have you ever checked how much do you walk for your basic works like taking a TV remote, switching off the fan, doing household chores, watering plants. If you check, there is a huge difference in the steps taken when we are sedentary and when we are doing our basic works around the house/ office. So walking other than your normal walks (exercise) is the best way to increase NEAT.
Having playtime with kids
This one is the winner as most of us who have kids around often do not find time to workout so playtime with kids is the best way you can improve on NEAT.
Parking a little ahead of the destination
In India, this can be done very easily, parking a little ahead of the destination and just walking to the place you want to go, you can add 800-1000 steps by walking up and down
If you are learning any dance form, this is one of the best ways to expend some more calories in NEAT.
Cooking, cleaning, vacuuming around, gardening all constitute to NEAT of a person. The number of calories may vary but it definitely matters.
Watching TV and fidgeting or stretching
As cool as it sounds, now watching TV without guilt is easy. While watching TV you can fidget your legs, do some stretches, extend your arms from time to time so that you are not totally sedentary.
Take a phone call and walk away with more calorie burn. Walk on all the calls that you receive, it would add to some steps and make you feel more energetic through the day.
Fitness Nerd Note: NEAT constitutes 15% of our total energy expenditure as against Exercise Activity Thermogenesis which constitutes only 5% of our total energy expenditure. So, it is good to concentrate on 15% of TDEE.
The bottom line is :
You really do not need a hardcore workout regime to lose those pounds. Being active throughout the day and expending calories would help just to keep that weight off.
My personal experience:
“I have been working out for last many years, but it is recently that I have added onto my NEAT. Those 200-300 more calories I have been adding to my TDEE quite often. Results are amazing. I feel light and there are a few inches off from the waist ( Just what we need).
I just added in more steps to my usual work. Instead of sitting and working, I have a standing desk. Changed the overall environment where I can take some more steps to accomplish a normal home chore. Watched TV while completing my steps instead of sitting. In short, made some very simple choices which paid off.”
Let me know what do you think.
Are you walking every day? without knowing how much should you walk every day? well, this article is for you. Walking is amazing for heart health, as the research and study say. Human beings are made to move, the sitting is more harmful than smoking. Walking is good for your health, it is one of the best cardio workouts for weight loss. Let us find how much should you walk to achieve your goal.
How much activity is needed for weight loss?
Let us first understand that walking or any sort of physical activity needs to be performed consistently to see the desired results. You can not do too much in one day and nothing on another day ( most of us tend to do that). If you have a problem sticking to one particular schedule and finding time out. It is important to integrate exercise as a part of your daily routine when you are too busy.
You need a minimum of 150 minutes of consistent exercise every day. That is the minimum you should do for optimal health. You can opt 30 minutes of exercise every day, or 45 minutes of exercise for 4 days. It is always advisable to have an active rest day unless you are not doing the heavy lifting.
Walking for weight loss
1 Pound weight loss needs a burn of 3500 calories. 30-90 minutes of the brisk walk should get you to your calorie burn goal. Walking at a fast pace is counted as a moderate-intensity exercise which might elevate your heart rate for desired calorie burn.
Walking may give different results to different individuals as per their age and intensity of exercise they have been performing. If you are walking from 1 year or more and aim at weight loss you should consider the following:
Walking at a pace better than usual
Most people walk at the same speed and the same distance, though it is considered as physical activity, the body gets used to it. So when you are walking Frequency of walk, the pace of walk and intensity of the walk should be duly considered. Increase your pace if you feel stuck at the scale and feel that you are not even losing inches.
The increasing frequency of the walk or increase the distance
If your body is used to walk 1 hour daily, try and change the distance to 1 hour 15 minutes at an increased pace. Those who are fairly young and have no history of knee pain can go ahead and try jogging. Many people end up with knee pain with jogging so, make sure you start slowly, protect your knees. Before jogging it is advised to perform some warm-up to avoid jerking the body.
Try walking at home with Leslie Sansone
This is one of the most tried and tested methods for increasing the intensity of walks. If you are bored with your walking regime, try something new by using Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. She uses four specific moves while walking which may help joints and aid weight loss.
Check Leslie’s Walking link at the end of this blog post.
Use ankle weights
Ankle weights are helpful to increase the intensity of walking as you are adding more weight to the body weight. This is one of the best methods to break the monotony and see some results.
How much should you walk?
There is a huge uproar about 10,000 steps a day. If you are hitting the goal of 10k steps per day that is said to be enough.
10k steps are approximately 8 km or 1 hour 40 minutes of walking every day.
If you are not doing any other workouts, walking for 1 hour 40 minutes burn 400-500 calories. So in a week, you are set to burn 3500 calories considering you are walking all 7 days.
Apps for walking
- Map My walk
- Fitbit tracker mobile app
All the above apps are free and you can install them on your mobile phones. If you would like to get yourself a good tracker to check your daily activity. It is the best way to keep a tab on the calories burnt throughout the day.
I walk but I do not lose any weight:
As we always tell our readers, there is no magic wand. First of all, let us congratulate you on being consistent with what you are doing. You have won the first battle. Rest all will fall in place once you realize that your food is not on track. If you feel you should clean up your food habits the best day is to start today. Here is a brief clean eating guide.
Walking is the best form of cardiovascular exercise but if you keep doing it at a same pace every day, the body gets used to it. It is better to assess and reassess your approach to get the most of any physical activity.