By Kelly Ostrem
It’s New Year’s resolution time!
It’s the perfect time for a fresh start on your healthy living goals. Getting fit and losing weight are common goals, and they should be! Being active for 30 minutes daily goes a long way toward reducing risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
But while planned physical activity is very important and should be a component of everyone’s day, there’s more you can do to make yourself healthier. In today’s world of devices and machines that do everything for us (like cell phones, remote controls, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.), researchers are finding a downside. All those gadgets that make our lives easier have left us — sitting.
Researchers are finding a strong correlation between the amount of time spent sitting and mortality from all causes. It’s scary! Exercise is important, but a 30-minute walk or your weekly game of pick-up basketball isn’t enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting as much as the average person does.
Did you know that even simple activities like standing, chewing gum, tapping your foot, or just fidgeting are all small ways to include more activity in your day? It all counts, and can make a major difference in your activity level. It’s neat!
Actually it is NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, is a fancy name for the physiological process of burning calories through movements and activities that aren’t planned exercise. The minor things you do during the day add up to increase your calorie burn and make you more active overall.
Researchers are determining that NEAT is the ticket to helping people successfully manage their weight by preventing or reducing fat from taking up residence on people’s bodies.
The good news is NEAT is already a part of most people’s day. The key is to capitalize on this knowledge, and find ways to move around more throughout the day. The impact on health and weight is so significant, there’s no reason not to take a stand (and not sit so much).
— Kelly Ostrem is a certified Health Fitness Specialist and a Certified Health Education Specialist. She writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA.