Tracking your daily steps is a very important part of any fat loss goal. By this, we mean your daily steps is SEPARATE from any cardiovascular or weight training exercise that you do.
So why is this incidental exercise so important?
Well, when you start losing weight or a training program you are going from doing nothing for months, if not years to exercising every day and eating less – One extreme to another.
In the beginning, you are motivated so you might decide to walk to work or the shops or get out for weekend walks with your friends. Makes sense right? You are feeling motivated and full of energy so you move more.
Problem is the longer we spend dieting the less we want to move. Our bodies want to conserve energy. Our bodies are smart and dieting indicates a need to conserve energy for a possible ‘threat’, although our modern lifestyles do not require this same conservation of energy.
That is why its so important to have a daily step target, no matter how to you are feeling it keeps you accountable for getting it done.
After all, non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT has been shown to be the
#1 REASON FOR CONTINUED FAT LOSS.
Here are six things to know about NEAT and how it can help you reach your health and weight-loss goals:
Lipoprotein lipase (LPL):
It is an enzyme that plays a critical role in converting fat into energy. Remaining sedentary for long periods of time can reduce levels of LPL. Conversely, using NEAT to move consistently throughout the day can help sustain LPL levels and help the body maintain its ability to burn fat.
Standing can make a difference:
A growing body of evidence shows that sitting still for too long can be hazardous to your health. Simply standing is one form of NEAT that can help increase your daily caloric expenditure.
Daily steps add up.
Even if you don’t make it to 10,000 steps, adding extra steps to your day is an important component of NEAT that can burn calories, while adding health-promoting activity to your life.
Walk or cycle for transportation.
Have you ever been stuck in traffic during your commute and thought, “There has got to be a better way?” By choosing to walk or ride a bicycle for your daily commute, you can burn significant amounts of energy during an activity where most people spend their time sitting. If you take a bus or train as part of your commute, getting off a stop or two early provides a great opportunity for some extra walking. Most errands are run in close proximity to home, so when you need to make that quick run for baking supplies, and time allows, walking to your destination is a great way to increase your NEAT.
There is cleaning and then there is getting-ready-to-host-a-party.
Or have-your-mother-in-law-over-for-dinner cleaning—we all know the difference. Doing additional tasks around the house or putting a little extra effort into your daily chores can be a great opportunity to increase daily NEAT.
Play with your kids.
In this modern era of having an app for everything, there is no app for spending extra time with your kids. An additional benefit to playing is that it can also help boost neural activity and cognition, so not only are you burning a few more calories, you could actually be increasing your brain function as well.
But, the easiest and my #1 tip for increasing your NEAT is to….. Take the stairs! So many people forget this one but it goes a long way to increase your calorie deficit.
Whatever your current step level, start by aiming for:
- 8,000 steps per day, then
- 10,000 steps per day, then
- 12,000 steps per day, then
- 14,000 steps per day