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This Type Of Movement Is Even Better For Weight Loss Than Exercise

Also, NEAT counteracts the hazardous effect of being sedentary. Moving throughout the day uses up the ATP your mitochondria are producing and minimizes a buildup of that cellular exhaust (ROS) that is a byproduct of energy production. Doing NEAT activities is like opening the garage door to let the exhaust fumes out and taking the car out for a drive. We want our “car” to be driving around (moving, living), not sitting in the garage. We need to use our fuel.

Spontaneous movement isn’t necessarily spontaneous. It’s an instinct based on energy intake. The natural human (and animal) tendency is to move more in response to eating more, and to move less in response to eating less.

The problem is that we have overridden this instinct because of how easy it is to overeat and how easy it is not to move in our current culture, but you can start to counter this mismatch between movement and energy intake by purposefully moving more. If you never sit for long periods of time, moving your body at least every thirty minutes or so throughout the day, you can get back into sync with your appetite cues.

Call NEAT exercise

Walking around the house doing housework, or having a physical job is technically a source of NEAT, but if you think of it as exercise, you may actually get even more benefit, according to research by the Stanford psychologist Alia Crum, PhD. In her study, a group of housekeepers working in hotels were told that their jobs counted as exercise and met the criteria for an active lifestyle. A control group was not told this. The group that was told their jobs counted as exercise burned more energy and got fitter than the control group. Think of your NEAT activities as exercise and you may get even more benefit from them.


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Here are some more simple ways to increase your NEAT. All of these will add to your daily step count and fuel usage, sometimes significantly:

Move more at home: Cook meals from scratch, clean more vigorously, do yard work.Reduce your screen time: Set limits for television and computer time. You could require yourself to get your steps in before turning on the TV.Move during your media time: Get up and walk around, fold laundry, do sit-ups and push-ups, or work out while watching TV or listening to podcasts. Jog in place during commercials–it might look ridiculous but it can really help you get your steps in.Walk more: Walk around when you’re on the phone (this is what Bluetooth headphones are for). Walk to do errands rather than drive, when possible.Move on your breaks: Between classes, on coffee breaks, or whenever you need to stand up and stretch, get up and walk around instead of sitting and scrolling or checking your email. Get up earlier: Studies show2 that people in midlife who get up earlier tend to walk twenty to thirty more minutes than people who stay up later and sleep in.Be inefficient. Bring your grocery bags in one at a time. Take things up or downstairs to put them away one at a time.Move after meals: Make a habit of walking for fifteen minutes after every meal.Move for creativity: Walk around while brainstorming or thinking through a problem–research shows that walkers are 81 to 100% more creative than sitters.Socialize on the go: Take a walk with a friend instead of sitting and eating or drinking. Get together with friends for activities like group workouts or outdoor playdates with kids.Walk the dog: People who have dogs tend to get more steps during the day. One study showed that dog owners walked 22 minutes more and took 2,760 more steps each day than people without dogs. Dog owners are also four times more likely3 to meet the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week.Employ the three-for-thirty rule: Set your smartwatch or phone to remind you to move for three minutes every thirty minutes while working.Park far away from the entrance: Even at the grocery store, park at the back of the parking lotMove at your desk: Swivel your chair, twist your torso, stretch your arms. Get up and jump up and down, and do some squats, wall sits, and planks.

From the book THE SPARK FACTOR by Dr. Molly Maloof Copyright (C) 2023 by Dr. Molly Maloof. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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