One of our biggest goals at AFS is for you, the client, to always leave with a game plan to help you reach your body composition and fitness goals. One of the primary ways we accomplish this is through prescribing evidence-based exercise frequency and calorie goals to match your individual wants and needs. We want you to leave your practitioner’s office with a very straightforward plan: “exercise “X” days per week; consume “X” calories per day; lose “X” lbs.” Oftentimes it really is just that simple. However, as they say, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. We help you carefully plan out your weekly exercise routine, but one vital element is often lost in translation: what do you do outside of your time exercising?
Many of us simply don’t move our bodies very much over the course of the day. Between highly sedentary desk jobs and technology that enables us to complete most tasks while sitting in front a computer, television, or smartphone screen, it’s increasingly easy to remain inactive while outside of the gym.
While structured exercise has very positive effects on health and wellness, the fact remains that we expend the majority of our energy during non-exercise activities, or “at rest”. RMR (resting metabolic rate) accounts for 60-75% of daily energy expenditure for most individuals. Think about it: we spend maybe 1-2 hours of our day exercising, while the remaining 13-15 plus hours are spent “at rest”. Therefore, how we spend this non-exercise time is crucial when weight loss is a goal.
Life-long weight loss and management largely is about changing behaviors, or making lifestyle changes. Below are some suggestions of relatively easy, and hopefully somewhat enjoyable, lifestyle-based activities that could be incorporated into your daily routine to boost your daily energy expenditure.
• Walk around the office.
Each hour try to get up and walk around the office for 3-5 minutes. Adding 20 minutes of walking into your work day could easily amount to a 300-500 increase in calorie expenditure at the end of the week. Can you only fit 5-10 minutes in per day? Great! This will still add up.
• Clean the house.
Admit it, all of our houses could use some tidying. Just 20-30 minutes of housework can expend upwards of 100 calories.
• Mow your own lawn, or take up gardening.
Don’t pay the neighborhood kid to mow your lawn (sorry, neighborhood kid). Mowing your own lawn not only saves money, but also is a great form of activity that can result in a calorie expenditure of upwards of 300 calories.
• Take the stairs.
I know this is cliché but it’s repeated so often for a reason. Research has shown that climbing five flights of stairs, five times per week can expend around 300 calories.
• Walk the dog.
Instead of just “letting him/her out”. Walking the dog for as little as 10 minutes each day can equate to as many as 400 calories expended at the end of the week, not to mention a happier dog!
• Use commercial breaks.
Get up and move about during commercials. Say you watch television for one hour before bed every night. At the very least, 10 minutes of commercials are shown during that hour. If you do this every day, that is 70 minutes of walking at the end of the week, expending upwards of 400 calories.
Totals: If an individual were to add four of these six activities to their daily routine, around 1,400 calories could be expended, resulting in nearly half a pound of weight loss at week’s end.
Take Home Message
While the calorie values given above are estimates, the message rings true: adding lifestyle-based activity to your daily routine will add up! The opportunities for increasing physical activity outside of the gym are endless — feel free to post your own ideas in the comment section below!