|Weight loss takes daily activity.|
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Weight Loss is NEAT!
Yes, shedding unwanted pounds is neat, but we’re actually talking about the effect of nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) on weight loss. In a recent NY Times article, researchers challenged the old thinking that you have to go to a gym or run a 5K to keep extra weight off. What they’ve found is that people who get lots of nonexercise activity live longer and weigh less.
So, what is nonexercise activity thermogenesis? Researchers at the Mayo Clinic were trying to better understand why some people gain weight and others don’t, even when they are given a similar number of calories. People in the study weren’t allowed to engage in traditional exercise, but researchers soon discovered the people who didn’t gain weight (even though they were eating extra calories) moved around a lot more. They did things like running to the water fountain, doing chores, and being “fidgety”. Just these little activities – though not structured exercise – add up and help prevent weight gain.
Researchers have also found that when you sit still, your body’s ability to use insulin plummets in a single day; fat in your bloodstream isn’t filtered the way it should be; and your muscles basically hibernate. All of this contributes to weight gain. As if that isn’t bad enough, another study found that sitting more than 6 hours per day significantly increases your risk of dying.
What does this mean for you? Well, in a nutshell, it means you should move. Nonexercise activities like fidgeting, tying your shoes, and parking further from your office may help you maintain a healthy weight. Even if you go to the gym after work, you aren’t counteracting the negative health benefits of sitting all day long. Be sure to take frequent breaks during your day to stretch or take a short walk. Perhaps most importantly, limit the time you spend watching TV! That is sedentary time and it literally shaves years off your life.