This month we are focusing on making upgrades to our habits to level up our wellness, fitness, and our lives!
I have some great news for the over 50 crowds (and, well, anybody) about how you can upgrade your metabolism – the number of calories you burn a day – that has absolutely nothing to do with your diet or your workouts.
But first, here’s a little background! Your body burns calories to fuel many things for the day:
- Your Basal Metabolism. These are the calories your body burns to power your organs and physiological functions. We’re talking calories that accounts for between 60% and 75% of your daily calorie expenditure. (Interesting fact: your liver, brain, and skeletal muscle are the top 3 calorie burners.)
- Digesting Your Food. About 10% of your daily calorie intake goes to digest your food! Including breaking it down, converting it into energy, and going through the process of storing it as fat if not immediately used.
- Physical Activity. This category of calorie burn is broken into two groups – calories you burn while you’re exercising (and directly after), and calories you burn while you’re doing other things like walking around, doing chores, engaging in hobbies, etc. Physical activity accounts for between 15% to 30% of your total daily energy expenditure.
It’s that very last category – the calories you burn while you’re NOT working out – are the calories that I’m talking about today.
That’s called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and it can make a HUGE difference in maintaining or losing weight.
That’s because any “extra” activity you do during the day (taking a shower, walking up the stairs, washing the dishes, doing laundry, playing with kids/pets, etc.) vs. sitting down can add up to hundreds of extra calories burned throughout the day.
Just how many calories you burn depends on how much you weigh and how hard you are working.
Doing household chores burns between 150-300 calories an hour, while working in the yard can burn 200 to 600 depending on whether you’re weeding, raking, chopping down trees, etc.
Compare that to spending time parked on the couch watching TV: you burn 70 calories an hour sitting, and just 45 calories an hour lying down.
But here’s the amazing part -
You have an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that helps your body turn stored fat into energy.
When you’re not very active, you have less of it in your body – but staying active during the day will help keep your levels up.
So basically: If you want to keep your metabolism up, move more!
If you sit all day for work- this is incredibly important! It’s also especially important if you’ve found yourself slipping into a “doing less” rut because of stress, fatigue, or other issues.
You can find ways to sneak more activity into your day, whether it’s taking the stairs vs. the elevator, parking farther away from work/stores, standing up when you normally would sit, walking your dog, playing with your children, etc.
Over time, these little upgrades in your activity will pay off! So next time you’re tempted to binge-watch a season of your fav show on Netflix, break up that binge with some movement between shows!
Please join me virtually every Monday at 3:30 pm for "Ask a Fitness Expert." Subjects vary and the theme for October is health and fitness upgrades for men and women over 50.
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