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