Turning small efforts into daily habits results in beautiful things.
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is the term for activity other than purposeful exercise. E.g. Walking, cleaning, trips to the fridge, playing with your kids, etc.
NEAT accounts for a higher percentage of your daily energy expenditure than intentional exercise even if you work out 5-6 hours a week.
Increasing your NEAT can make a huge difference to your health and environment.
- Wear comfortable shoes: You’re not in pain or grumpy; better relationships; better posture; you can walk around without hindrance; more NEAT.
- Bring your lunch to work: Saves money eating out, and you can spend the rest of your lunch hour walking / doing errands.
- Wear a backpack rather than carry a shoulder bag: You’re more inclined to go for a walk; you walk more easily and quickly; you don’t hunch one shoulder to keep a bag on it (my physiotherapist pointed this out and now I see people with lopsided shoulders everywhere).
- Bringing lunch and drinks to work means more trips to the office kitchen: Saves money; more NEAT.
- Put dishes away one at a time: NEAT; and it also doesn’t increase power bills.
- Put laundry away one item at a time: NEAT!
- Walk your office mail to admin on another floor instead of putting it in your floor’s mail-out tray: Saves admin staff having to carry it or forget it, and I get more floors climbed.
- Walk to the shops when you need something (rather than waiting till you have a long list then drive).
One of my realisations was to just stop whining to others to do tasks and just get off my butt and do them myself. No arguments; better relationships!
More NEAT meant decluttering, and more space!
All this NEAT led to feeling better, doing more purposeful exercise, eating according to my calorie limit, losing weight, running, feeling better, round and round…
An adaptive spiral.
Today I was thinking that NEAT is sort of like doing the “right” thing:
- You walk to the bin instead of leaving rubbish on the table – more calories burned; tidy house.
- I just walked two sides of a triangle along the path instead of taking the short cut across a carpark – safer; more calories burned.
- I walk the long way to & from work – less carbon emissions; save money; more calories burned.
Doing the “right” thing has so many benefits!
Losing 80 lb / 35 kg using My Fitness Pal (easy calorie-counting app), running, and participating in community discussions led me to not having drunk alcohol since January 31 2018.
Not drinking meant not needing as much time in bed trying to sleep. Now I sleep more soundly and don’t wake as often, which means I have more time to do nice things.
On Thursday after my run, study, and drawing, I still had lots of time to spare before my last day of work for the year:
- I put away some things I’d left in the hall after doing some rearranging around the house.
- I walked to the hardware shop and bought some picture hooks and hung prints of my son’s artwork properly in my yoga room (his room when he comes home).
- I tidied my room and wiped down all the surfaces free of dust.
And when I came home, it all looked lovely and I was facing 12 days holiday!
As each day passes, we can make appropriate and sustainable growth, change, and habits that beautify the overall picture.
An adaptive spiral.