In my last blog post we discussed the importance time management plays in self-care. Understanding your definition of self-care is an essential pre-action step to making healthy lifestyle choices. If your definition includes increasing physical activity, this post is for you.
An abundance of evidence exists to support healthier living benefits of increased physical activity. What you may not know is you can enjoy many of those benefits without increasing planned purposeful exercise. You do it by upping your NEAT.
NEAT, an acronym for non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the energy (calories) you burn doing everything except planned purposeful exercise, eating or sleeping. The less you are currently doing, the more you benefit from upping your NEAT. How much physical activity do you need? The answer for most is simply more than you are doing now.
Up your NEAT by standing instead of sitting, walking instead of standing, walking quickly instead of slowly, pace while you talk, take the stairs, park your car at the end of the lot, walk or ride a bike to work, move to the music, cook your own meals, clean your own house (okay that’s a stretch), tap a foot or a finger. Get creative, your life may depend on it.
Added benefits of upping your NEAT are increased serotonin, a neurotransmitter and mood stabilizer that is said to decrease depression and anxiety. Upping your NEAT decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. It improves critical thinking, memory, sleep, sexual desire and function. It improves heart function and circulation and helps you burn fat more efficiently.
At Work Well Concepts we work collaboratively with our clients to create a wellbeing vision that aligns with their definition of self-care. I challenge you to do the same. What will you be doing differently when living your wellbeing vision? What motivates you to live as your best, or better, self? Your body is meant to move. As you travel your wellbeing journey to living happier and healthier, up your NEAT by finding ways to keep it moving.