Adding in steps is becoming more and more important in our increasingly sedentary lives.
In the past, we’ve heard of the phrase “incidental exercise”. This is when you go out of your way to add steps or more movement into your day. This doesn’t include doing an actual workout. What it does include is things like parking your car further from the shops, taking the stairs, walking to the bus stop or getting off one stop early, lose your remote control so you have to get up, stand and talk rather than sit, carrying your shopping bags, stretching, etc.
In the UK, they often use the acronym “NEAT”. Defined as,
“Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting.”
So why is this type of work necessary? Like I said, we’re becoming more and more sedentary. We commute longer, watch more Netflix, work on our computers all day. And while we have some awareness around the affects of sitting all day, and have come up with things like sit/stand desks. It’s not necessarily helping our habits. These are ingrained in our minds and our bodies.
And I don’t mean to alarm you but it’s causing things like muscle weakness, poor circulation, soft bones, back/neck/shoulder pain, spinal disk damage… and that’s just for starters.
In order to counterbalance our “sitting lifestyle”, it’s really important to take breaks and walk for 2 minutes. I’m 100% guilty of not doing this. I sit at my desk from 8:30am-5pm every day, without enough breaks or steps. Yes, I go to the gym to do group fitness classes 4 times a week but that doesn’t mean I hit 10 000 steps, like ever, on a work day.
But I have found that a brisk 20 minute walk can easily add 3000 steps to my step count. And I honestly do feel a lot better for it.
So, my challenge to you is, don’t be lazy, or “efficient”. Sometimes it’s good to walk to lunch, instead of ordering UberEATS. Go to a toilet that’s further away. Walk to your co-workers office instead of calling. Or if you must call, do it standing. Take the kids for a bike ride or play at the park. It does wonders for them, your relationship with them. Plus for your body physically and mentally as well. You start to see things you hadn’t before because you're being a little more present, getting out into the world.
If you need any help in the Motivation department, you might find this blog post helpful.
Have you got any more ideas for us? Share below.