Vacuuming could help you live longer

09.26.11 |

One of the most exciting aspects of the Habits of Health System—beyond its ability to transform a person’s health and longevity—is seeing how new and more in-depth research proves the effectiveness of our core principles.

When I first designed the Habits of Health, I looked at the latest medical research as well as trends in treatment and my own direct patient experiences to build a new approach to health.

Today, we have even more evidence and more support for how we help people create health in their lives. And the core concepts in the Habits of Health are still the same. Recently, a study published in The Lancet analyzed data from 17 countries and over 130,000 participants. They found that daily physical activity, such as the time you spend vacuuming or washing dishes, can reduce an individual’s risk of death by 28 percent.

28 percent!

If you’ve read Dr. A’s Habits of Health, you will recognize that this study aligns with the NEAT System. NEAT is a bit like the story of the tortoise and the hare. By making small daily choices, you can win the race of weight maintenance and set the stage for exercise at your own pace. My NEAT System adds motion to every aspect of your day but does so gradually so that it won’t seem like much effort at all. Doing chores by hand rather than using all of life’s modern conveniences (like washing your dishes instead of dumping them into the dishwasher) is one part of NEAT.

Key categories to inject more motion into your life

You can review the full breakdown of NEAT in Chapter 15 of Dr. A’s Habits of Health, but here are the high six key categories where you can easily inject more motion into your daily life:

  • Stance – Focus on your posture when you stand or sit. Activating posture muscles burns valuable calories! 
  • Standing – Sitting for long periods is a major health risk. Simply standing up during phone calls can improve your health. 
  • Strolling – Walking is a proven way to create health. If you can add steps by walking to the far water cooler or parking farther from the door, you can make great strides in your health. 
  • Stairs – Skip the elevator and take the stairs! Stairs burn more calories than walking, and you can easily add an extra flight here and there throughout your day. 
  • Samba – Tapping your fingers or dancing to music at your desk helps to keep you moving, and it’s fun! 
  • Switch – Using your non-dominant hand builds new neural pathways and challenges your body. If you are doing household chores, use your offhand instead!

Small additions in your daily movement habits add up. Yes, going to the gym for an hour is a big step forward for your health as well, but little steps are easier to start, easier to continue, and you can do them throughout each day of your life. I hope that reading through this list has you sitting straighter and thinking about stepping away from your desk for a brief walk.

How do you incorporate NEAT into your life? Share your ideas and tips!