May 05, 2022

If you read one book this year, make sure to get a copy of Get Up! By Dr. James Levine. In it you will find interesting facts about weight loss and countless reasons why standing up and moving more regularly will have positive effects on our bodies and minds. Much of this article refers to the findings in the book and highlights some of Dr. Levine’s work at Mayo Clinic in the US.

Sedentariness is a major cause of weight gain and is something that affects us all in one way or another. The thing to understand is that some people are more prone to weight gain than others. However, there is a solution to break the bonds of sedentariness and incorporate mini habits for weight loss into our daily routines.

Weight gain is a consequence of sedentariness

Sedentariness basically means excessive sitting and a lack of exercise or movement. Because we spend a lot of our time seated either behind our desks, in our cars or on our couches, our bodies are unable to burn off extra fuel.  

Think about it. A lot of us will grab a quick takeaway for lunch, eat it at our desks, and then remain seated for the rest of the afternoon. After work we hop into our cars or take a seat on the bus. We get home and may cook a meal, or we’ll stick something into the microwave and then take it easy on the couch until bed time.

There’s not a lot of bodily movement in this scenario, and so it stands to reason that if the food we consume is not able to be used as energy, it will be stored in our bodies and adds to our weight gain.

People with obesity have low NEAT

Some people are predisposed to have low non-exercise activity thermogenesis and are therefore more prone to gain weight. Others are able to activate their NEAT switches, get up and get moving.

A study conducted by Dr. James Levine, which entailed a number of volunteers who didn’t go to gym, and who all had desk jobs, were required to wear sensors which determined their daily movements.

It was found that those who were more obese were sitting down a lot more during the day than those who were leaner. Get Up! Dr. James Levine, 2014

Activate your NEAT switch to control weight gain

As with any routine, habit, or lifestyle, it’s very difficult to change. However, the beauty of simply activating your NEAT switch is that it doesn’t have to be as strenuous as 2 hours in the gym every day. Although it would be a good idea to include an exercise routine as well.  

If you’re wondering how to stay positive when trying to lose weight, remember to be patient and take it one day at a time. You can start small. Stand up at your desk for two hours a day until gradually you have extended this period for half the day, most of the day, and finally all day. Wash the dishes by hand, take the dogs for two walks a day instead of one, or walk to the shops instead of driving.

As long as you concentrate on moving more regularly, getting up out of the chair and being patient with yourself, you’ll start to notice the differences over time. If you want to find out more about Dr. James Levine’s research and work at the Mayo Clinic, watch this webinar. Keep an eye on our social pages for some fascinating insights and information on how to incorporate NEAT activities into your daily life.


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