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January 7, 2016 | 2 minute read

Given Up on Your Exercise Resolution? Do This Instead.

If you’re like millions of Americans, you resolved to exercise more in 2016. It’s an important goal because getting at least 30 minutes of daily moderate activity helps to prevent cancer, along with other chronic disease.

But sadly, less than half of you who made that New Year’s resolution are going to still be exercising six months from now. The solution: stop focusing only on exercise. Start focusing on moving more.  Think NEAT.

Technically called non-exercise activity thermogenesis, NEAT includes activity that isn’t formal exercise, but is beyond what your body uses to function.  Even when you’re sleeping, your body uses some energy to power your heart and other organs. That’s called resting metabolic rate.

Wash dishes, vacuum or pace – all NEAT activities – and you’ll build on top of your resting metabolic rate. These small physical movements increase the calories you burn, compared to just lying about. These movements are also a way to ease into more moderate activity, which is what links to lower cancer risk.

neat activities

Why get NEAT for the New Year:

  • Reduces sedentary time, one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention.
  • Emerging research shows sitting less throughout the day is associated with lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and death from cancer as well as all causes.
  • Burns more calories in the day.  For example pacing while on the phone can burn 100-200 calories in an hour compared to less than 50 (KC has 88) sitting down.

How to get NEAT for the New Year:

  • Sit Less. Stand or walk around while watching TV or using the computer.
  • Rely less on machines. For example, manually wash dishes rather than using the dishwasher, or take the stairs or walk up the escalator instead of riding the elevator.
  • Get NEAT for fun. Go dancing or bowling or spend time in the garden.

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