Aside from switching over from fossil fuel power to human power for transportation, our lives are filled with opportunities to get some free exercise in a completely natural way without costing us any time or convenience. These little things can get you burning about 500 extra calories every day without ever breaking a sweat.
In the figure below, you see the breakdown of how the average human body uses its calories. That large blue chunk out of the top pie is the root metabolic rate which represents the energy the body needs just to stay alive. We cannot do much about that one, but we can do a lot about that red slice. This particular post will therefore focus a bit more on the non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) which is the large red slice of the bottom left pie. This is the energy we use to do our daily work and also the energy we use to keep our bodies healthy and fully functional.
Sadly, it seems like the primary purpose of our modern lifestyles is to keep our NEAT to a bare minimum. This is completely unnatural and when you finally break out of this self-destructive rut, you will actually use the body as it was designed to be used and suddenly find that it now performs a lot better.
In practice, this can be done by the formation of a few easy little habits. Here is a list to get you started:
- Take the stairs
- Prepare your own food (in a standing position of course)
- Pace around when talking on your cellphone
- Stand when having an informal meeting with a colleague
- Stand when giving a presentation
- Do your own gardening and housework
- Happily take the open parking spot far from the office/mall/stadium front door
Our world has glorified in-the-moment comfort to such an extent that this list might look like a lot of trouble, but take the plunge and see the benefits rolling in. It is a lot of fun to smile at the lazy people taking the lift and then smile at them again when you have beaten them to the third floor.
So, break out of this totally unnatural sedentary world we have built for ourselves. It is not supposed to be this way and you most certainly do not have to live this way. You are a free man/woman. Start using this freedom.