As we enter the holiday season, our minds turn to family, friends, celebrating and food! Oh, the food of the season… And with all of that decorating, baking, visiting and running around (and of course work), we will of course burn off all of those added calories… Or will we?
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for the activities that we do outside of eating, sleeping and sport-like exercise (such as all of that work, baking and running around…). So, the more active you are, the more energy you burn. The more NEAT, the better! NEAT has a considerable potential impact on energy balance and weight gain.
Obesity was rare a century ago, yet genetically we have not changed over that period of time. The obesity epidemic has many contributing factors, but certainly a reduction of daily activity (more sedentary work and home lives), and hence a reduction in calorie burning is a primary factor.
So, what to do? Get moving! If you do have a sedentary job, get up often. Walk to the printer, go get some water, stand while talking with a colleague. Move a little more, move a little faster (safety first!), and look for ways to build more activity into your day. This is especially important for those who have sedentary jobs.
And if you want to learn more, look for the research that Dr. James Levine, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic is doing. It’s fascinating! I just saw him present at the National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas. This annual ergonomics conference is loaded with great information on ergonomics and is known to focus on practical application. It is also known to have the best exhibit hall, full of products that help us solve the problems we find and the risk factors that are associated with musculoskeletal disorders. It’s always time well spent.