Friday, June 12, 2009

Get Fit the NEAT way!

Are you someone who can’t seem to find anytime for exercise no matter what you do! Or just the thought of a gym makes you want to bury your head in the sand!

Well, the world is really amazing and the number of people working just to help you out will surprise you! What I am talking about is the concept called NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
Sounds complicated but is the easiest thing you can do to get fit in your own small ways!
Human energy expenditure (EE),which needs to be balanced as against the input energy through eating for optimal health is defined by 3 components – the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Thermic effect of food (TEF) and Physical Exercise activity thermogenesis (PE). There are also other small components such as the energetic costs of medications and emotion that could be considered.
The equation can be represented as EE = BMR+TEF+PE
BMR is the energy expended when an individual is laying at complete rest, just to keep all body mechanisms running (tested in the morning, after sleep, provided the person is not shocked awake!) and accounts for nearly 60%. TEF is the energy associated with digestion, absorption, and storage of food and accounts for approximately 10-15 % of total daily EE. The PE is a variable factor and depends on the amount of physical activity done as - Exercise and NEAT during any given day.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is thus the energy expended for anything that is not sleeping, eating or strenuous exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, household activities, walking up the stairs or even fidgeting!
NEAT activities are a great way to start incorporating some physical activity in your daily life in a non-time consuming way. However, for those who are still excessively over weight, a word of caution – while NEAT activities can be a great way to start off, this alone will not suffice to get you into optimum health by the right time!

Here are some easy ways –
o Park your vehicle 50 - 100 metres away from your office building or elsewhere, and walk down the distance.
Use the same concept in your society and park your vehicle a few buildings away from your own building.

o Avoid asking the newspaper guy to drop the newspaper at your home. Instead, make it a routine to walk down and pick up the newspaper yourself.

o Try to use the stairs while shopping in malls or even at office and home. Of course, in case of office or home, do choose the number of floors you can climb according to your fitness levels and time, and let the lift help you with the rest!

o Instead of asking for home-delivery of household items, pick it up yourself from the neighbourhood shop.

o Reduce the use of remote while watching TV, and instead physically get up and go to the TV to change channels.

o In the lunch break during office hours, take the longest route to reach the canteen, or incase you eat lunch in your cubicle itself, make sure you take walk around for 8-10 min atleast either before or after lunch.

o Take some time out daily to play with your children, or incase you have pets, take them for a round outside, atleast once a day, and watch your health and relationships improving!!

All over the world, the concept has been put to use quite creatively… Here are few examples I feel that you may find useful too!

o While in office, keep your dustbin 5-6 cubicles away, and make it a point to get up and go over to it every time you want to dispose something!
o During the time that the computer is loading a page or downloading something, try some leg extensions, side bends, shoulder rolls or just stand up and walk around, stretch and then come back to your work.
o Walking meetings i.e. meetings where the participants walk around the office and discuss issues are quite popular abroad!
o Walk down to the water cooler, every two hours and fill up your bottle, instead of asking the attendant to do it! Who would have thought humility could also burn some calories!
o In the morning, while reading the paper, try walking around instead of sitting at the table! Also, you can take breaks in between at office and do the same!
o For mothers who have delivered recently, walking the baby around the house can also be a good exercise.(I am sure some of you must be of the opinion that taking care of a baby can be an exhausting exercise in itself!)
o While climbing steps at home or office, try creative ways to climb – like criss-cross climbing, climb once-step down and climb again – repeat etc.
o For those who sit for long hours at work, consult an expert who can suggest some office exercises for you, considering your workspace.
o In fact, it has also been found that chewing gum can also contribute to NEAT!

Get creative with NEAT and remember that “it’s the little things that count!”

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