The Surprising New Way to Stay Fit — Without Exercise
By Shelley Levitt
Surprising ways to stay fit without exercise. If getting fit is one of your new year’s resolutions, there’s good news: It’s easier than you think to do it.
A stack of new research shows that you don’t need to spend hours at the gym at an “I’m-killing-myself” pace to stay in tip-top shape. Mini bursts of moderate activity may actually be a more effective way to lose weight or stay in tip-top shape.
That’s NEAT! We don’t mean “neat” as in cool, but NEAT as in “non-exercise activity thermogenesis.” NEAT is scientific shorthand for everyday movements, like standing, bending, walking, toe-tapping, washing dishes, folding laundry. Basically, it’s any physical movement, or calorie burning, other than exercise.
How NEAT Works
Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher is one of the world’s leading proponents of NEAT and the author of the book Move a Little, Lose a Lot: New Neat Science Reveals How to Be Thinner, Happier and Smarter. Levine says that the average person can burn an extra 350 calories a day — enough to drop 3 pounds a month — just by adding little spurts of activity into their daily life. Everything counts, like taking a 30-minute walk at lunch, pacing while you’re on the phone, marching in place for a few minutes while watching TV, standing as you text, running around the yard with your dog. Doing anything, in other words, but sitting.