Staying active and healthy can be hard. Maintaining a sufficient level of activity whilst working a full time job, trying to manage your weight, while predominantly sat at your desk, can pretty much feel impossible at times. The best workout plan is the one you are able to stick to. This involves setting a realistic plan, with workouts that are not too intense that they wipe you out for days and that have the right amount of frequency for your busy schedule. Away from the workout plan, there is another form of exercise that can be hugely beneficial to staying active around the work space.
This alternative method of increasing energy expenditure, aside from exercise, is kind of neat. Literally. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.) is all the energy we get through doing stuff that isn’t exercise. Walking to work, cleaning up after your messy housemates at home, walking up and down the stairs to the Uncommon roof top, fidgeting at your desk, altering your posture, hiding under your desk from your boss, doing some gardening – these all count towards your NEAT expenditure every day.
These movements all burn calories and may seem like small things, but when they all get added up they’ve been shown to significantly help your daily calorie burn. Interestingly, it’s also been shown that if NEAT is persistently suppressed, i.e. you are mainly sedentary and don’t move around much, it may contribute to weight regain post diet. Food for thought for those that have suffered with Yo-Yo dieting in the past!
In short, exercise routines are great for weight loss, but sometimes life can get in the way of your best intentions. So move more, get up and away from the desk where possible and get more active! Here are some key ways to increase your NEAT burn:
- Get off 1 stop early from the tube/bus (Kennington or London Bridge) and walk the rest of the way to work. This gets the morning off to a great start and you can stride into work feeling like a champ – arms swinging by your side Conor McGregor style.
- Once you get to work, skip the queue for the lift and instead take the stairs. Each time you need a toilet break or fancy a cup of coffee, take the stairs to the floor above. If it’s two floors or less in the lift, then walk it! Not only will this burn you some extra calories, but you’re more likely to bump into colleagues you might not usually interact with and that’s how beautiful things happen! Further to this, a recent study from the University of Georgia has also shown that taking the stairs in the morning can actually be more energising than your morning cup of coffee!
- Move more! Whether that’s putting on your headset for the afternoon conference call, taking your laptop to one of the standing desks for an hour stint, or simply making time to get up from your desk and take a 5-minute stroll around the office – these small acts of movement all add up. We aren’t designed to sit down all day long.
- Have you only got a short lunch break today and no time for the gym? Pop on your favourite podcast or that album you’ve been wanting to listen to for ages and go for a 20-minute walk at lunch. Its better than trawling through The Daily Mail online… again!
- If you’re heading out for some post work cocktails, why not start the night off right by enlisting our good friend Boris the Bike and burning a few extra calories. You’ll get to avoid the Central Line Sweat-fest, take in some of London’s finest sights and turn up to the bar looking badass – perhaps pulling a wheelie (well, that’s how I envisage myself turning up, but in truth I’d probably stack said wheelie and cause a scene.)
In summary, move more, especially if you work in central London. Often you will find that walking is only 10 or 20 minutes more than the tube. Use that time to call your Mum, listen to a podcast, or just take in the sights. You won’t regret it!
This post was written by Mark from MobFit, a London-based health and wellness consultancy, on a mission to maximise the health and happiness of employees across the whole nation. They also happen to provide all of our on-site fitness classes here at Uncommon creative work spaces, every lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays.