No Time To Work Out? 10 Easy Ways To Stay Moving During The Holidays
You can optimize your metabolism through movement, and it's all about transforming your mindset about the definition of movement. Yes, your body burns calories when you exercise. But you actually burn an overwhelming number of your total daily calories when you're not exercising at all in non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT.
In fact, research has shown that the number of calories NEAT burns can range from about 15% to as much as 50% or more of your daily energy expenditure, even if you don't presently exercise. When you focus on movement all day long—and not just that moment in the gym or during a workout—you're removing as many instances of inactivity from your day as possible.
Optimizing your metabolism can mean tweaking how you already move, stand, and sit throughout your day. You can take advantage of NEAT to burn even more calories and increase your opportunity to optimize metabolism.
Here are some quick switches that can optimize your metabolism with everyday movements or even when you are traveling:
- Instead of bringing in several shopping bags from the car in one trip, bring in one bag at a time.
- Pick the farthest (but still safe) parking spot you can from where you need to visit.
- Whenever you talk—always walk. Whether it means pacing back and forth when you're on the phone or inviting someone to take a walk with you if they want to speak with you, try making a hard-and-fast rule that if your lips are moving, then your feet must follow.
- Take it outside daily. Or if you're on a road trip, make an extra pit-stop! When people move outside into green space (trees and grass), their mood improves. And when you couple that with "blue space" (any body of water), their mood improves even more. A recent report drawn from more than 140 studies involving 290 million people worldwide has conclusively shown that being exposed to green space more often reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress, and high blood pressure.
- When out socializing at the movies, a game, or any type of event, or even when you're traveling via plane, always choose the seat closest to the aisle so you can stand up and stretch without being bothersome.
- Also great for those long flights…stand up! Shift your weight from one foot to the other, or sway from side to side or take small steps forward and backward.
- Raise one foot slightly off the ground and hold it there for a few seconds, then switch to the other foot, continuing to alternate back and forth.
- While sitting on a plane or in a car, you can rock back and forth or side to side, or rotate your torso in circles. Also try this: With your toes planted on the floor, shake your legs up and down.
- When at your desk, always stand when reading your emails—then sit when answering them.
- If there's room at your desk, swing your legs back and forth, or bend and straighten them repeatedly.
Another quick travel tip for the season: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Our bodies can become dehydrated when traveling (especially when flying), so it is important to try to consume around 8 ounces per hour of travel time. You may end up in the restroom more often, but think of that as some additional NEAT opportunities!