How many NEAT points have you earned so far this week? More than you expected to accumulate, I bet.
As you learned in the 30-Day Challenge, stairs are a great way to accelerate NEAT. In fact, climbing just one flight of stairs is equivalent of walking 100 steps because you’re actually lifting your total mass against gravity. That means that climbing ten flights of stairs gives you the same benefit as a half mile of walking (and there are around 2,000 steps in a mile!).
A cautionary note: stair climbing is a moderately intense activity. If you’re overweight or relatively inactive, see your physician first, start slowly, and pay attention to any signs that your body needs to take it easier. By this point, you are probably doing just fine with the stairs, but don’t overdo it.
At work: Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, and use the restroom or water cooler on a different floor. Take a stair break instead of a coffee break.
At home: Walk the stairs at the mall, ballpark, or department store.
Evaluation and Goals: Record the flights of stairs you climb, up and down, in a day. One flight of stairs is about fifteen individual stairs. Your goal is to add one additional flight per week with a target of ten flights of stairs per day.
Energy expenditure: Use the chart provided to estimate how many calories you burn per flight.
NEAT points: Estimate based on provided chart.
Here, we’re looking at movement generated by your body’s natural rhythm. Put on a song you like and watch what happens. You might start tapping your pencil or your foot or even singing at the top of your lungs!
There’s a term for music’s capacity to lift us up this way – ergogenic. An ergogenic aid is anything outside your body that boosts physical or mental performance, either by increasing your capacity to perform, removing psychological constraints to performance, or by speeding your recovery after exertion. For the purposes of NEAT, we’ll be focusing on music’s ability to enhance motion by amplifying brain arousal.
At work: Turn on the iPod at lunch, go outside, and get in motion.
At home: Use music to augment everything you do on your own, from gardening to cleaning (avoid music in situations where it would prevent you from interacting with others, since talking also increases NEAT). Go dancing! Start with ballroom and work your way up to tap dancing, square dancing, and eventually more intense dances, such as jitterbugging and hip-hop.
Evaluation and Goals: Measure the number of minutes you listen to music per day and the number of hours you dance per week, adding ten additional minutes of music per day, working up to ninety minutes of music per day with one hour of dance per week.
Energy expenditure: 1kcal per minute of up-tempo music. Slow to moderate dancing will burn 3kcal per minute while fast to intense dancing will burn 5kcal per minute, with a total potential of 10 kcal per day for music and 20 to 30 kcal per day for dance.
NEAT Points: 30 to 40 per day.
Only one more NEAT Activity to learn: switch. We’ll cover that tomorrow, though. You have dancing to do today.