It’s Christmas week! For those of you that celebrate, the next five days will likely be a whirlwind. Even if you don’t celebrate, you have probably been bombarded by lots of delicious sweets, treats, and holiday cocktails.
We hear so much information about holiday weight gain. It can definitely happen, and pretty easily. Between holiday parties, office shindigs, and all of those delicious treats brought in by our loving co-workers, it is hard to avoid temptation. Fortunately, most studies show that the average person only gains one pound over the holidays. The problem is, over time that one pound each year can add up to 5 pounds or more.
The good news is that there are some really simple things you can do to combat holiday weight gain, or just those extra few that come along with the cold winter months. While diet and exercise are important factors in living a healthy lifestyle, there is another one that is often overlooked. Eating a healthy and well rounded diet is of course essential and getting 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a few times per week is important. But studies show that there is another variable that can really boost your healthy living goals.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the accumulation of all activities you do during the day. This is a huge variable in your daily calorie burn. Beyond hitting the treadmill at the gym, NEAT is all of the other activities you log during the day without even trying! People who have more NEAT, burn more daily calories. As you can imagine, someone with an active job will burn more than someone who sits at a desk all day. In fact, people who make an effort to get up and move tend to burn around 300 more calories per day than their sedentary peers.
There are really simple ways to put NEAT into practice. If you work in an office setting, try standing more or consider a standing desk (or a treadmill desk!). Pace while talking on the phone. Park at the back of a lot and walk a few more steps to a store. Take the stairs. Go for a quick walk as soon as you get home from work and before you even take your shoes off. Grab a quick walk during your lunch break. You don’t have to be a gym rat to be fit and healthy.
People who walk more burn more calories. And these don’t need to be long or deliberate walks. Just get up and move for 5 minutes every hour.
The steps add up and can make a huge difference. It takes 3500 calories to lose a pound. By eating 250 calories less each day and burning 250 calories more each day, you can lose 1 pound per week. Not a bad plan!
Use your extra days off during the holiday to put this to the test. Stand in the kitchen and bake some goodies for a friend. Take a stroll with your family around the block and check out the holiday lights. Walk on the treadmill while you watch your favorite shows.
How do you like to keep active and moving?