Are a jam-packed schedule and a long to-do list leaving you too busy to exercise?
The biggest health hazard you're up against just might be a chair - or a couch - and all the time you are sitting in it. According to research, 1 in 6 Australians spend more than 11 hours with his or her rear glued to a desk chair, car seat, or couch.
And just like a car that idles so long that its engine stalls, your metabolism puts on the brakes when you lead a sedentary lifestyle, says endocrinologist Dr James Levine. The moment you go from walking slowly to sitting, your active kJ-burn rate drops from roughly 12 per minute to 3. Over time, sitting for hours every day causes your level of HDL ("good") cholesterol to fall and puts you at risk of weight gain and a host of chronic diseases.
Dr Levine has developed a program called NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) to help you move more. It requires you to rethink all your habits and find new, more active ways to get through your day. If you move enough, you can offset the danger of all that sitting - and burn up to 4,184 more kilojoules (1,000cal) a day, without ever setting foot in the gym.
Hide your remote. If you must watch TV, at least stand up to change the channel.
When cooking or baking, ditch the electric mixer and use a wooden spoon instead.
When tidying up, put things away in multiple small trips rather than one big haul.
Invest in quality pots and pans; the heavier they are, the more energy it'll take to use them.
Stand up and march during your favourite TV shows.
Rather than calling to family members in other rooms, walk over to talk.
Stand while styling your hair or putting on makeup.
Walk around your home or neighbourhood while on the phone.
Hand-wash instead of using the dishwasher.
Put your most-used items on the top or bottom shelves so you have to reach for them.
Leave your mobile phone in one location, so when you need it, you must go to it.
Start a compost pile in your yard.
Re-organise your closet and cupboards
Give the delivery guy a break; when you order food from a restaurant, pick it up yourself.
Plant or weed a garden or care for indoor plants.
Instead of sitting and reading, listen to audio books as you walk, clean, or garden.
The next time you bring in your garbage bin, up your karma and bring in your neighbour’s too.
Give your dog a bath instead of paying a groomer to do it.
Set the timer on the TV to turn off after an hour as a reminder to do something more active.
Turn on tunes and dance while cooking.
First published: 20 Jun 2019