By: Jeremy Partl, RD
When you think fat loss, you are trying to create the optimal conditions to keep a long-term negative energy balance. Additionally, you are also trying to keep metabolic markers that have to do with fat loss optimal – fat burning hormones, triglyceride and blood sugar clearing, insulin sensitivity.
If you kill and drain yourself with exercise, you might be too hungry to stay on track with eating mindfully and only to the sufficient degree of fullness. On the other hand, if you don’t eat enough, you won’t be able to maintain enough activity to stay in negative balance.
All day movement (and NEAT) play a huge role in filling in the gap. Light activities such as walking, strolling, standing, filing, cooking, doing laundry, climbing stairs, fidgeting, stretching, changing positions often – all classify as all-day movement.
What are some of the benefits?
- Correlate with weight loss, reduced body fat, and decreased risk of metabolic syndrome [1,2]
- Helping the cardiovascular and lymphatic system, because those depend heavily on the geometry of the body and the positions we take during the day.
- Helps to maintain mobility and minimizes aches and pains and repetitive strain injuries.
Today’s society functions in an environment that often makes it a challenge to incorporate all-day movement. However, you can do a number of things to win that battle against the forces that undermine health and fat loss.
- SIT-STAND WORKSTATION – A dynamic workstation allows people to sit for part of the day and stand for part of the day.
- ACTIVE BREAKS –Take active breaks during the day. Set a reminder on your phone to get up or walk and walk or stretch 5 minutes every 30-60 minutes. This way you can do movement and exercise without feeling like they have to leave their bodies waiting until the end of the day when you get to the gym.
- OPPORTUNITIES TO WALK – Design your life to walk more by parking the car further away, walking to the store, walking to pick up kids from the bus stop, walking the dog, walking to the park, doing walking meetings, walking on phone calls, walking listening to audiobooks or podcast. As an added benefit to fat loss, this may also help de-stress and connect to the community.
- PLAY WITH KIDS/FAMILY – Being active and playing expends energy, but it also improves mood and strengthens our social connections. This is a safeguard against emotional eating and the guilt/sense that you have to choose between family and yourself to be healthy; play brings everyone together and helps in many ways
- ACTIVE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES – Find a service opportunity and use it as a way to expend energy and be active but also connect with the community.
All day movement requires very little skill and low effort input. It is a powerful way to help fat loss and improve the overall quality of life with only a few small changes in lifestyle.
- Levine, J. A. (2004). Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Nutrition reviews, 62(suppl 2), S82-S97.
- Colley, R. C., Hills, A. P., King, N. A., & Byrne, N. M. (2010). Exercise-induced energy expenditure: implications for exercise prescription and obesity. Patient education and counseling, 79(3), 327-332.