When I say NEAT I am referring to Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It’s basically the calories you burn when you are not exercising. Many studies show, people who burn a lot of these calories are thinner than their counterparts. It makes sense that sedentary people burn less calories, then your coworker who taps a foot compulsively and occasionally breaks out in dance. In Yiddish we say, that person has the shpilkes.
Having the shpilkes is a good thing, unless you are trying to gain weight. Bouncing off your office or cubicle wall might help you burn more calories throughout the day, but there are others ways to burn off a burrito.
Unfortunately, most of us sit at a desk all day and bring our metabolism to a painfully slow pace. You can reverse that trend by standing up. I usually recommend standing up for a minute every 20 minutes. If your heavy workload won’t allow for that, stand up at least once an hour.
While seated at your desk there are a million simple exercises to get your heart rate moving, prevent carpel tunnel, and ease neck pain. Here’s a few to incorporate in your day:
• Wrist circles: hold your arms at 90 degree angles, palms down and circle your wrists clockwise and then counter clockwise three times.
• Finger circles: hold your arms at 90 degrees, palms down, and at the same time make circles with your thumbs in both directions three times, work your way through each finger.
• Shoulder rolls: lift your shoulders up back and down 10 times, and then back, up and down 10 times.
• Belly breathe: inhale and fill your stomach with air, exhale slowly and repeat. Take 5 breaths like that. Most people take shallow breaths and that can cause tight shoulders and neck.
• Stress ball: squeeze a ball, egg, wax… 10 times in each hand.
Now that I have gone off on my office tangent, let’s discuss the evil combination of couch + television. Vegging out after a rough day is a rite of passage. We all do it, but night after night of sitting on the couch after sitting at the desk makes us round and tired. It sounds odd, but moving around is energizing and lying down is fatiguing. Pick a few nights a week to walk or bike ride. With the summer it’s easier to get outside, have fun and be NEAT.