Have you ever wondered what it takes to burn more calories without going to the gym? The answer is more simple than you may think. The answer is movement. Actually, I would say that movement is to some extent more important than exercise when it comes to burning calories. Let me start off by explaining the difference between movement (or physical activity) and exercise. Exercise is “a repetitive, structured, and focused action” while physical activity is referring to movement of the body throughout the day. For example, a squat would be exercise while walking dusting the house would be movement or physical activity.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise has so many benefits and you should 10000% exercise as part of your daily routine. Resistance training helps increase muscular and bone strength and increases your metabolism while cardio increases cardiorespiratory strength, but general movement throughout the day has many benefits as well. So how does this work?
You burn calories all day, even at rest. Your total daily energy expenditure is referred to a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This includes calories burned from maintaining bodily functions (BMR), calories burned from digesting food (TEF), and calories burned from physical activity (PA). Calories burned from physical activity are further divided into exercise and NEAT.
The calories you burn when you are not sleeping, eating or exercising is referred to as NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT includes activities such as shopping, doing the laundry, walking the dog, etc. It does not include any structured activity such as weight lifting, spin classes, running on the treadmill, etc.
NEAT actually contributes more to the calories burned throughout the day (~15%) than exercise (~5%). If you are sitting around all day, this number will be significantly lower than if you are moving around. Not only does being active increase your caloric burn, but it can also reduce your risk for certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can also increase your metabolism, energy, and bone health. Increased activity levels even reduces your risk for anxiety and depression.
If you are sitting at a desk all day or spending a lot of time sedentary, try to increase your movement slowly. Here are some tips to accomplish this:
Finding little ways to increase your movement can go a long way.
As always, if you have ANY questions dm me on Instagram or leave a comment below. Follow me on Instagram @jessicabondfitess for more tips, tricks, and workouts.
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I help women with chronic illness incorporate mindful movement and adopt new habits that work with their diagnosis and avoid new flares.