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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Keep Up with NEAT: Less Sitting and More Calorie Burning

GettyImages-513205085If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably started exercising, maybe you’re trying a new diet, and maybe you’ve been super consistent for months now, but nothing’s changing. You feel like you’re doing everything right, but you haven’t seen any changes on the scale. How can this be? Weight loss is all about diet and exercise, so why aren’t the pounds just falling off? Research suggests there’s more to weight loss and weight management than diet and exercise alone.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure: The Calories You Burn

Throughout the day our bodies expend energy in the form of calories. The components of Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) include Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), and Physical Activity (PA). BMR accounts for about 60% of total daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of calories a body burns at rest. People who have increased muscle mass will have a higher BMR because of the amount of calories muscles use, even at rest. This is one reason why strength training is important for weight loss.

TEF results in roughly 10% of TDEE. This includes chewing food, digestion, absorption, and all other processes that go into consuming and processing food within the body.

The remaining 30% of TDEE is physical activity, which then gets broken down into exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). EAT accounts for about 5% of TDEE, while NEAT can contribute as much as 15%.

NEAT vs. EAT

NEAT are the little movements or tasks you do throughout the day, but are not considered moderate to vigorous exercise. This can include walking, taking the stairs, vacuuming, doing the dishes, playing fetch with the dog, talking, standing, tapping your foot, cooking, yard work, and so on. These small tasks vary from 50 to 200 calories per hour. All of these small movements can add up to a significant caloric deficit. On the other hand, EAT is the exercise-type activities like running, weight lifting, and so on.

Exercise is encouraged in weight loss because it can increase muscle mass, improve mood, encourage movement, and so many other benefits. However, if your workout is one hour long and you sleep for 8 hours, there’s still 15 hours of the day in which you might be completely sedentary, which is not ideal for weight loss.

We live in a society that encourages sedentary behaviors throughout the day, for example, working in an office. Meanwhile, over half of leisure time is spent watching television. This means that Americans are spending the majority of their time completely sedentary. This is thought to be one of the causes of the obesity epidemic in the United States.

What Does This All Mean?

To be clear, increasing NEAT activities is not a replacement for exercising. Structured exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity for 150 to 300 minutes a week has countless benefits that have been researched over and over again. However, in overweight and obese patients, adherence to workout programs shows low long-term success. And those who do show success initially seem to gradually gain the weight back. Instead, replacing sedentary behaviors with NEAT-type activities can boost energy expenditure throughout the day while maintaining long-term adherence. Not only is NEAT easier to maintain, but the amount of NEAT activities seems to increase over time.

Overall, weight-loss programs should focus on a healthy diet, a structured workout program, and strategies to decrease sedentary behaviors to increase NEAT. Although the full mechanisms of NEAT still need to be explored in research, there’s plenty of evidence to prove that decreasing sedentary behavior may aid in weight loss when combined with diet and exercise.

For some ideas of increasing NEAT at work and at home, check out this blog.

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This blog was written by Hannah Peters, BS, CPT, Health Fitness Instructor. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: staying active healthy habits weight loss calories weight management exercise at work sitting

A NEAT Way to Burn More Calories (Part 2 of 2)

In the first part of this blog series you learned about NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and how it can impact the number of calories you burn each day. From James Levine’s article, you can conclude that NEAT can burn an average of 330 calories per day in healthy individuals, and up to nearly 700 calories per day in others. 

You have probably started thinking of ways you can add more NEAT into your day for weight loss or weight management. The most common suggestions are parking farther away, taking the stairs, or getting a desk you can stand at. Those are all great suggestions, but in this blog I will provide some other ideas that you can fit into your day.   

5 Ways to Burn More Calories at the Office or During the Workday

  1. Have walking meetings. Instead of sitting at a coworker’s desk to discuss work, try walking around the office or outside to discuss work. You may find that ideas and communication come easier to you than when you are sitting. 
  2. Drink more water. First, it will help you stay hydrated, which is good for your health. But secondly, it may help you get up from your desk more by increasing the number of times you have to go to the restroom. You could even plan time to get up and visit the water fountain. 
  3. Invest in an activity tracker. These trackers, such as the Fitbit, can provide you with an estimated number of steps and calories burned each day. With this tracker you can set a goal for yourself. This can help motivate you to get up from your desk and move to help you reach your number of steps or number of calories you need to burn each day.ThinkstockPhotos-533536853
  4. Walk during your lunch break. Walk instead of driving to restaurants nearby if you are going to eat out. If you packed your lunch, walk to find a nice spot to eat instead of just eating at your desk. Getting up and moving will help you increase calorie burning, and going outside will give you fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.
  5. Get your coworkers involved. Create a team goal or competition. You could schedule a few times each day when everyone in the office needs to stand up and move/walk for about 5 minutes. If you are trying to make it a competition, you could have a challenge each day to see who can get the most jumping jacks or pushups throughout the day.

5 Ways to Burn More Calories in Your Leisure Time

  1. Be active while watching television. If watching television is part of your daily leisure time, try adding in small activities to complete while watching your favorite show. You can fold laundry or organize and pay bills. You can get up and sweep or vaccum the floor on commercial breaks. You can even prep for dinner by chopping vegetables as you watch your favorite show!
  2. ThinkstockPhotos-200358726-001Play with your kids or pets. They are bundles of energy that can help get you on your feet and moving. Play a game of tag, basketball, or soccer with the kids. If you have pets, use toys that they like and keep them (and you) active. 
  3. Take a short walk after dinner. Instead of sitting down to watch TV or laying down for bed, try going on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. 
  4. Have an active date. When meeting with friends or family, you can try to make the date active by riding bikes to your destination. You could also choose to do something active like mini-golf or visiting a state park. One fun idea is visiting a ceramics studio and creating or painting pottery. 
  5. Keep up your household and landscape. Everyone wants a beautiful and clean home. So try staying organized and keeping up with daily cleaning and organizing. You can try planting new flowers, washing the car, or repainting the front fence. 

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Now that you have some ideas for staying active and burning more calories, you can start adding more NEAT into your daily life and start burning an extra 330 to 700 calories each day!

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This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: staying active exercise at home weight loss calories hydration weight management exercise at work workplace fitness

10-Minute Desk Exercise Routines for the Office

86490362Even though I work at a gym, I can still relate to people who work in an office setting sitting at a desk for several hours out of the day. On a typical day, I try to get in my workout before or after the work day, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and I need to squeeze some movement into the middle of my day.

Getting up and moving around at the office doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t take a long time to get in movement that will truly make a difference.


Here are two 10-minute workouts you can do at your desk (or anywhere!) when time, space, and equipment are limited. Also, notice the exercises are hyperlinked—click the link for a video demonstration of the specific exercise.

10-Minute Total Body Desk Exercise Routine

Complete each exercise for 1 minute, resting when needed. Repeat the circuit of exercises twice through. Make sure to do some light stretching at your desk when you are finished!

10-Minute Cardio Blast Desk Exercises

Complete each exercise for 1 minute, resting when needed. Repeat the circuit of exercises twice through. Make sure to do some light stretching at your desk when you are finished!

Bring NIFS to work with you! Contact us about our Corporate Wellness Programs and bring fitness to your workplace. Contact Don Galante for more information at 317-274-3432 ext 234 or by email.

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, LES MILLS® certified BODYPUMP® and CXWORX® instructor and contributing writer. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: staying active workouts exercise at work desk exercise workplace fitness videos workplace wellness

7 Quick Tips to Get Moving at Work

Are you one of the many Americans who are glued to a desk throughout the day? On top of that, do you have other responsibilities outside of your work hours that limit the amount of time that you can spend exercising throughout the week? Here are some ways that you can become more active at work. Remember, 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week can make a huge difference in your long-term health!

1. Bike or Walk to Work932463446_bike

If you can ride a bike or walk to work each day, you can add a significant amount of physical activity minutes to your week. If you have a bike path or walking trail near your home that leads to your work, this is an excellent option. Many do not have this luxury or live too far away, but that doesn’t mean it is completely out of the question. If you have a longer commute, you can drive to a path and park nearby and bike or walk the remainder of the trip. This is a great solution for those who work in busy cities.

2. Take the Stairs

Even if you are stuck at a desk the majority of the day, you can get in some quick cardio bursts if you have a set of stairs in your building. Anytime you have the opportunity to switch to a different floor, utilize the stairs instead of the elevators. For example, instead of using the restroom that is a few steps from your office, take the stairs to a restroom on a different level to sneak in some extra steps. (You can even go up and down a few extra times while you are up!) 

3. Walk on Your Lunch Break

Squeeze in a few extra minutes on your lunch break by taking a stroll around the block or through the hallways. If your time is limited, do not underestimate the value of a short 10-minute walk. The small additions of physical activity throughout your day add up fast! Some companies even offer incentive programs at work for walking so be sure to join in!

4. Walk During Meetings and Brainstorms

When possible, have meetings while walking. This can be especially beneficial during brainstorms. Instead of sitting for 20 minutes with a colleague discussing the next task, walk!

5. Desk Exercises

When you feel like you have brain block or just need to pause for a few minutes from what you are doing, complete a few exercises right at your desk! Try alternating between incline push-ups on your desk and body-weight squats for 3 sets, 10 to 15 reps for each exercise, for a quick burst of energy. All you need is your own body weight and your desk!

6. Sit on a Stability Ballbusiness women on ball

Not all companies will allow this, but if yours does you should definitely take advantage of it! Sitting on a stability ball throughout the day improves posture, strengthens the core, and is an excellent piece of equipment for a few quick desk exercises throughout the day. A regular stability ball will work, but balance ball chairs are excellent and provide additional ergonomic benefits.

7. Stand Up

Simply stand up at your desk when possible! Standing burns more calories than sitting and allows for your body to stretch from the seated position. Oftentimes we need to be seated to complete a job task, but you can easily stand during a phone call or while you are reading a long document. If you want to add an extra burst of cardio along with this, try marching in place to increase your heart rate.

Have specific questions on ways to incorporate more physical activity into your day? Sign up for a free fitness assessment with one of our expert trainers!

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, ACSM certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our bloggers.

Topics: staying active walking employee health exercise at work

New to Exercise: 10 Minutes Makes a Difference!


Can you find two and a half hours in your weekly schedule to devote to exercise? Most adults would say NO WAY! Not with my job, running the kids around, taking care of the house, and taking care of my parents. We are all busy, but the truth is, it only takes two-and-a-half hours a week of your time to lower your risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type-2 Diabetes, and some cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

time to exercise

The Health Benefits of Even a Little Activity

Would you be able to complete your list of to-dos if you were dealing with a serious health condition? The same amount of activity will also help you to control your weight, improve your mental health, and increase the strength of your bones and muscles. Wouldn’t it be great to feel stronger physically and emotionally and to have more energy throughout the day? It is possible!

Take one of my clients who has a very hectic schedule himself that changes constantly, making it difficult to make it in to NIFS every day. To combat this, he has purchased a foot peddler that he keeps at his desk to sneak in some extra physical activity when he is working to keep him on track with his fitness goals.

Fitting in Small Bouts of Exercise at Work

Think about what works for your situation and how you can find the time. Another option is to take a few minutes to complete a few exercises at your desk such as an incline push-up or body-weight squat followed by a quick walk around your office space or up and down the stairwell. Other quick-fix options include parking farther away from the front door of the store or at work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can do similar activities pretty much anywhere when you have a few minutes of downtime!

Finding the time is easier than you think! Even small bouts of exercise of only 10 minutes can contribute to your weekly total. First try to find time twice a day every day to walk for just 10 minutes. You only need to find 15 times a week (twice a day plus one extra) where you have 10 minutes to spare to reach your two-and-a-half hours! You could do this on your lunch break, while you are watching your kids practice, or by waking up 10 minutes earlier. Gradually, start adding more bouts of ten-minute activities into your day where you see fit. Making this positive change will make a huge difference in your health and you will be thanking yourself later in life for your lifestyle changes today!

Take that first step towards a more active lifestyle. Put down that mouse or smart phone right now and go for a 10-minute walk!

This blog was written by Stephanie Greer, NIFS certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Topics: staying active healthy habits exercise at home walking exercise at work