We are often told that we need to work out more to lose weight; we should go to the gym or go for a run. However, until recently, there has been a whole system of weight loss that seems to have been ignored; the idea that small movements can all add up to make a significant difference to our health.
By simply performing small movements, and allowing your body to do what it does naturally, you can burn calories. These calories burned all add up and can help with weight loss and boosting your metabolism.
The technical term for this is Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis, or NEAT. NEAT includes all movements and body functions, so even when you are lying down and doing leg lifts, or just watching TV while pushing some dumbbells, you are still burning some calories.
Research has found that people who have even moderately sedentary lifestyles, such as office workers, can lose more weight by simply incorporating a range of small movements in the normal working day.
Generally, those people who are fitter and leaner are spending less of their day sitting while doing nothing, and more of the day either actively working out, or engaging in small movements. Clearly, by adding more of these small movements into your daily routine, you could see a big difference in your weight loss attempts.
So what sort of small movements are we talking about?
The idea is that you introduce small changes to your day, so you are moving about slightly more. The main examples include getting off the bus stop a stop earlier; walking over to your colleague to talk to them and not emailing them; parking at the end of a car park and walking that little bit further.
Even something as simple as every now and then standing up from your desk and having a quick stretch can make a huge difference. Many of us have office-based jobs that involve being sat at a desk for long periods of time, which is not good for our health.
By incorporating small movements such as refilling the water bottle, talking to colleagues to walking to the printer that is slightly further away, we are actually increasing the number of calories that we burn every day.
Many people are often told they should sit still and not fidget, that somehow fidgeting is a bad thing to do. However, fidgeting can actually be an effective way to burn calories. All the time you are fidgeting, you are moving and therefore adding to the amount of calories that you are burning each day.
Similarly, some people pace up and down when they are talking on the phone. Although this might be annoying for some, it is actually a good habit to get into. Particularly if it is a long phone call, you can actually walk quite a few steps during this time. Again, it is these small movements that you may not even realize are actually exercise that all add up, help to burn calories, and boost your metabolism.
For those who are sitting down a lot, even small exercises that can be performed whilst you are sitting can make a difference. By simply raising your legs repeatedly, you are increasing the small amount of movements you are doing.
To make the workout even more effective you could add a small weight to your legs, such as a book or two. This would increase the workout and the amount of calories that you can burn, as well as boosting your metabolism.
Another example of adding small exercises into your day is the dreaded housework. Many of us do not enjoy doing housework, but it can actually be a really effective workout. By changing it slightly, you can increase the effort and therefore the number of calories that you burn each time.
For example, you can alternate the rooms that you clean, which therefore means you, walk up and down the stairs more often.
Climbing stairs is one of the best workouts for a range of muscles; simply walking up and down the stairs at home can hugely increase the amount of calories that you can burn. In addition, all this simply by doing the housework, which you would have to do anyway.