Plain and simple, the more you move the more calories you burn. There is even a scientific name for it: NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Adding extra movement to your day can have a major impact on your overall health and weight loss.
Let's look at the simplest example: Go from surfing Facebook on your phone laying down to doing the same thing sitting up. Sitting up you burn 25% more calories. Now stand up and you’ll burn almost another 25% more calories.
Now, let's put this into perspective and assume you work a 40 hr per week job mainly sitting at a desk. Say you committed to standing at your desk for only 2 hours per day instead of sitting. This amounts to approximately 70-90 calories per day (for 150lb to 200lb body weight respectively). If you did this for a year (assuming you work 5 days per week and take 2 weeks of vacation), you can burn enough calories to lose 5 to 6.5 pounds per year. Maybe this doesn't sound like a lot of weight to you but this is without change in diet or additional exercise. Little changes like this can add up over time!
Now, take the time you are sitting. Consciously add movement to your lower body and raise and lower your heals (bonus if you put a book on your lap), tap your toes, or draw the alphabet with your feet. Anything you can do to add movement will boost your calorie burn for the day.
You can find 100 different ways to add additional movement to your life if you really think about it! Here is a list of 15 ways to add some movement to your day:
1. Use the restroom one floor down (or up) at work (or home) instead of heading for the one just down the hall.
2. Instead of fighting other drivers for that single open spot near the door, do your blood pressure a favor and park several rows away.
3. Walk around the block while your kid is taking dance class/playing soccer/etc.
4. Get off the bus or subway one stop early.
5. March in place while brushing your teeth (go ahead and shut the door first if you’d like).
6. Walk over to your coworker’s desk instead of e-mailing her.
7. Make it a nightly habit to go for an after-dinner stroll with the family.
8. Early for an appointment? Walk around the block instead of adding to your interminable time in the waiting room.
9. Take a daily afternoon “brainstorming” walk. These are great for productivity and your step count!
10. Wander the room while chatting on the phone.
11. Set the alarm on your computer to go off every hour, then take a quick tour around the floor (or even just a trip up and down the hall) when it does. It's way too easy to just sit and get lost in your work.
12. Next time you have to run a couple of errands, park midway between your destinations and walk to them both.
13. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
14. Walk to lunch from the office to meet friends or coworkers.
15. If you are stuck waiting somewhere, pace the room.
Check out the picture for more examples.
Whether you are a fitness guru, a self proclaimed couch potato, or anything in between, these are a few ways you can add a little more movement back into your life. Remember, every little bit counts
No matter where you are in your fitness journey it’s important to take some time to think about stability training. Using controlled, unstable exercises increases the body's ability to stabilize and balance itself. Proper stabilization improves, posture, protects joints from injury and improves muscle force production by promoting proper muscle balance. Overall it allows all the muscles to work more efficiently. I highly recommend this mode of training for everyone: beginners to athletes to everyone in between.
The idea behind stability training is to incrementally increase the proprioceptivity (instability) of the environment as the exercise is performed. It’s important to note this should be done with control and with from as top priority. You can adjust the positioning of the lower body, the movement of the upper body and/or the stability of the surface. Use the table below to incrementally increase the instability in your movement, starting with the lower body continuum and moving to the right. Where it says “unstable” under lower body it means work in the upper body and/or surface continuum. It is important to note that whenever you add a surface instability, go back to a two leg stance and then work your way back up. Remember this is a controlled instability. If you do not have the equipment needed to increase the surface instability you can use a folded up towel to start. Finally, I feel like I have to say, BOSU balls are for experts only in this continuum! Standing on a BOSU ball can be very dangerous!
Watch the video for an example using bicep curls.
Cardio is all well and good. It increases endurance, burns calories and improves cardiovascular efficiency. I'm all for anything that gets you moving! However, ladies I'm talking to you, DON'T BE AFRAID TO LIFT WEIGHT. Weight training offers some serous benefits! Here are 7 of them:
Burn More Calories: By increasing muscle mass you increase your resting metabolic rate. That means you burn more calories doing anything and everything. Even just sitting here reading this blog post ;)
Shrink Your Waist: I want to stress this one because I hear a lot of woman say that don't lift because they don't want to add bulk. You will not getting bulky, weight lifter muscles unless you live in a weight room. Women only have a fraction of the muscle building testosterone that men do. In fact, you will see your dress size go down (even if the weight on the scale doesn't) because muscle is more dense (takes up less space) than fat.
Strengthen Your Bones: Bones are living, growing tissue just like muscle. Weight-bearing exercise increases bone mass by forcing it to work against gravity. Individuals who regularly strength train achieve a higher peak bone density than those who don't. Bottom line, your 90 year old self with thank you ;)
Increase Flexibility: New studies show that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well typical static stretching. The key being: FULL RANGE. If you can't complete the full motion—going all the way up and all the way down—with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell and work up to it.
Improve Joint Pain: I hear this one a lot: "I can't do squats and lunges because I have bad knees." The fact of the matter is, if you continue to avoid those motions you will continue to have bad knees (or any other joint). Focus on form, modify if necessary, but DO NOT avoid strengthening those muscles. Strong muscles surrounding the joint will protect the joint and decrease pain with motion.
Improve Athletic Performance: Run faster, harder, longer because you will have a stronger core and more powerful arms and legs. You might not even notice as many hills out on your run.
Feel Empowered: Continually challenging yourself to try new things in your workouts, especially things you didn't know you could do, increases your confidence in all aspects of your life! Try it and see :)
Now go grab a set of dumbbells and use the for one of my weekly workout circuits! Not sure how much weight to use? Check out my post about that here.
It has been HOT and HUMID here in Georgia!! We are experiencing a little break now - only 93 for the high ;) Boot camps have been sweaty and my runs have been slow! I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling the effects of this weather! There are, however, a few things you can do to help beat the heat and finish the summer strong:
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