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Grandma's tips on being NEAT

Updated on June 14, 2017

Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis

Physical activity is an important part of being and staying healthy. Being a SAHM (stay at home mom) of five children and a dog, wife and full-time student, it is sometimes difficult (to say the least) to find time to get away to go to the gym or even for a walk. Several people in my family have had health issues directly related to excess weight,but my grandma always managed to keep a healthy body weight.

Several years ago when my own weight had gotten out of control I reached out to my grandma to inquire how she had been able to keep a healthy body weight. As far as I had known she has never had a gym membership during my life time. She proceeded to explain how she stayed fit. She told me her and my grandpa would walk around their neighborhood at least three times a week. She also started to talk about different household tasks that she performed throughout the day. These were day to day things she did during her years of being a stay at home mom (SAHM) back when it was a way of life for women and not a privilege like it is today.

Later, while searching on my journey towards health and wholeness I came across some information about something called Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis NEAT for short. NEAT is any type of energy exertion that is not considered to be traditional exercise. Fidgeting, typing, and kissing are all NEAT(pun intended). 2/3 of our body's energy is used processing our food and an additional 10% of our body's energy is used to digest our food which is around 77% of our body's energy being used involuntarily. If you are unable or choose not to exercise in a traditional way you can add a little NEAT(ness) to your day. Most of your calorie burning work is done for you without any conscious effort on your part. Here are Grandma inspired tips on being NEAT:

REACH: While putting away dishes Reach as high as you can and put those dishes as far back on the shelf as you can reach. This is a stretching motion that you will feel along your sides and under your arms.

SQUAT: Putting away pots and pans in the bottom cabinets? Squat down low and put those pots all the way in the back. This move will help those thighs and buttocks. Also it will requiring the same motion to retrieve those same pots and pans when you are ready to use the for cooking.

TWIST and BEND: When you're washing laundry put your soiled laundry on the floor, then stand between the pile of clothes and the washer and twist and bend to pick up the clothes to be transfered to the machine. Remember to Twist and Bend on both sides. If you pick up only one or two pieces of laundry at a time you will begin to exert quit a bit of energy.

PUSH and PULL: If you're vacuuming, Push and Pull your vacuum cleaner as far out and back as possible. Better yet put down the vacuum and sweep. You will definitely use more energy to complete the task.

WALK: Any type of house hold task can be turned into a Walk. Putting away the laundry for example. Put the laundry at the complete opposite end of the house from its designated place, then take only a few items at a time and put them away. Make several trips from one end of your house to the other, walking swiftly back and forth inside your home.

Over the years and currently I use these NEAT tips whenever I cannot get out to the gym or when the weather is freezing outside. You will be surprised as to how it can keep you vibrant and energized throughout the day. So the next time you want to skip the gym don't feel bad just be a little NEAT about the situation.


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