Work at a desk? Get more NEAT
A study by the Mayo Clinic this year showed that for those of us with desk jobs we should be trying to fidget as much as possible. Well, sort of. The study found that doing simple things like maintaining good posture, fidgeting, standing up for a drink or heading to the bathroom can help to boost our energy expenditure. These small movements all contribute to our Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), that’s the energy we burn everyday by carrying out normal tasks.
As we’re all aware, the more we sit, the less energy we burn but some simple changes to our day can ensure we burn more kilojoules while chained to our desk. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine we should all be aiming for at least 2 hours out of our seats every working day. But, let’s face it, when you have a day that’s so busy you almost forget to blink, the whole standing up thing doesn’t happen.
If you spend most of your working day in a chair, make some simple changes to your routine and your desk set up to increase your NEAT. Use these tips to get your recommended 2 hours standing each day:
- Move your bin away from your desk. If you need to throw something away– stand up to do it.
- Drink your water in a glass rather than a large water bottle. When your glass is empty, stand up to refill it.
- Have something to tell a colleague? Don’t email it, walk to their desk.
- Take the stairs. Just a few flights can burn off that afternoon snack.
- Don’t have a sad desk lunch. Even if you pack your lunch go for a walk and eat it outside. Or if this isn’t convenient, eat your lunch and then go for a walk, just five minutes will make a difference.
- Stand up and stretch! Every half an hour, stand, stretch your arms above your head and get your blood flowing. Just for 15 seconds will do. When seated our legs, lower back and neck can become stiff. Perform some basic stretches 2-3 times a day to keep the blood flowing.
- Walk to work. Not many of us live within walking distance to work (if you do, awesome!) but if you commute to work, park your car a little distance away, get on or off your bus at a stop a little further down the street or walk to the next train station. Getting extra physical activity in the morning and the afternoon can make up for all the sitting.