I am the lucky one.
I don’t have to sit at a desk for 8 hours every day. And, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you love your job or hate it (in which case you should quit it), inactivity at workplace is a curse of the 21st century.
Not that long ago, people were moving to make their living. Nowadays people live at comfortable homes, where they sit to read, write or watch TV. Then they get up for 3 minutes to get to their car, which will take them to their office, where they will sit for 8 hours. Only break from sitting in those 8 hours is a quick lunch break (maybe 20 minutes, where most of time they are sitting to eat), couple of toilet breaks (and here you can read why everyone should drink plenty of water) and maybe a short walk to their co-workers. At the end of the day they get up, get to the car, which is parked right outside the office door, go to the grocery shop (and wait for the space closest to the door to vacate) and then drive home. And home is the place where everyone can finally chill, after a hard day at work, right? So what happens at home? Sitting down for the dinner, sitting down to watch a TV, sitting down to read the newspaper… You see all the sitting that is happening?
The average number of steps per day that people make are somewhere between 5 000 – 8 000 steps (depending on where in the world you are). The amount that has been told to be of some health benefit, is about 10 000 steps a day.
And this is where N.E.A.T. comes into play. What is it? It’s short for “non-exercise activity thermogenesis”. N.E.A.T. is all the unplanned activity that you are doing throughout your day. Fidgeting in your chair, doing the dishes, patting your dog etc. It all requires some amount of energy, which helps to boost your metabolism, therefore aiding you to shed some pounds and keep you healthier, without you spending hours and hours on doing cardio.
But don’t give up on yourself if you are tied to a desk job and you absolutely love it and never want to leave it. Just make moving around your priority. Park further away from the office and walk. Maybe use public transportation. Instead of meeting your friend at a café, grab a coffee to-go and go for a walk in the park. Go out for a walk after the dinner (it’ll help you to get your steps in as well as help your digestion). Instead of watching the TV at night – play with your kids. Work in your garden (if the season allows).
Always remember – things that you do daily matter way more than things you do occasionally. That’s why it’s important to move around every day, not just go to the gym twice a week. Little things matter.
Stay active. Stay healthy.