PFTL NEWS August 2018

NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN THE FREE WALKING CLINIC – Monday & Thurs. 5:30pm-6:30pm- Gillson Park

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HUNGER AND ANGER = HANGER  (from ACE Health eTips June 27, 2018)

Most of us have experienced the overwhelming grouchiness that takes over when we’ve gone too long without food. Turns out, there’s some science to explain why this happens. Here’s what you need to know and how you can help your clients cope when hanger strikes.

The official definition of hanger is “a feeling or showing of anger due to hunger.” As humans, we have the choice to listen to our hunger. Yet, in our busy and overbooked lives, we often choose to ignore this signal, waiting far too long to feed our empty stomachs. The body’s response to being ignored is to cause an emotional reaction (like anxiety and stress) to prompt a reaction. And the longer the body is deprived, the greater the emotional response.

It’s important to realize that the stomach and brain are connected to one another, and part of the communication is related to signals of hunger and satiety. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a correlation between hunger, feeling angry and having low blood sugar. Basically, when you’ve gone too long between meals, your blood sugar level drops, signaling the release of a cascade of hormones.

Ghrelin – Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach that stimulates feelings of hunger. It can also produce anxiety in the brain, which is where hanger starts. When you’re hungry, you’re more more irritable and more aware of your emotions because it reinforces the drive to seek food and to satisfy nutrition needs. A release of ghrelin causes you to be hungry and should be the motivation for you to begin seeking out food. When you eat, ghrelin disappears and so does the anxiety. However, if this hunger signal is ignored, it can cause a disruption of other hormones in your body.

Cortisol and Adrenaline – A low blood sugar level also triggers the release of stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. As these two hormones increase, the body goes into a fight-or-flight response. From there, the effects of hanger are expressed mentally, emotionally and physically.

When you’re hungry, your prefrontal cortex doesn’t function at a high capacity. This can affect personality, self-control, planning and even temporarily shut down long-term memory. Emotionally, your mind begins to feel anxiety and stress. This can lead you to lose patience and focus, or even act abnormally. Physically, your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration all increase.

Neuropeptide Y – If you continue to ignore the ghrelin and the spike in cortisol and adrenaline, your body will go into a panic mode and you will experience hanger in its full effects. At this point, the body releases neuropeptide Y, which has been found to make people behave more aggressively toward those around them. Additionally, this neuropeptide stimulates food intake with a preference for quickly digestible carbohydrates. Lastly, a release of neuropeptide Y increases your motivation to eat large amounts of food, while also delaying how long it takes for that food to make you feel satisfied. In a nutshell, hanger causes you to have a larger-than-normal appetite, especially for carbs, so you end up overeating.

Real-life Effects of Hanger

Example #1: One study that attracted attention a few years ago found that judges are less likely to set lenient sentences the closer it gets to lunch. Turns out, their hunger led to hanger, which impacted their decision-making skills.

Example #2: classic study of married couples asked them to stick pins into “voodoo dolls” that represented their loved ones, to reflect how angry they felt toward them. They found that when people had lower blood sugar levels, the more pins they stuck into their dolls. Ouch!

HOW TO PREVENT HANGER

Be Mindful –  Listen for clues. If you notice yourself getting more irritable, hunger may be the cause. Take a break and find a snack that contributes to healthy eating. Most people should not go more than four to five hours between meals. This type of healthy eating pattern will help relieve your hunger and balance out your blood sugar levels to prevent riding the emotional rollercoaster of hanger.

Be Prepared – Keep snacks on hand that are travel-friendly, so you have them readily available. A snack should contain a blend of carbs, proteins and fats. Whole-grain carbs that are high in fiber (5 grams or more per serving) raise serotonin levels to give your blood sugar a quick boost, while the fiber keeps your stomach full. Proteins and fats are digested more slowly to give you staying power and keep you feeling full for longer. By having your own stash of healthy and fresh foods within reach, you’ll be less tempted to indulge in less-healthy fare that lack the nutrition your body craves.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AND WEIGHT LOSS? (from IDEA Fitness Journal July 2018)

Apple cider vinegar has a cure-all reputation for helping with weight loss, cholesterol, diabetes, acne, digestive problems and other issues. The truth is somewhat less impressive, but apple cider vinegar does have proven health benefits.

Some small studies have found that vinegar can aid weight loss (Kondo et al. 2009). The vinegar may reduce food intake either by increasing satiety (Ostman et al. 2005) or by leaving people feeling nauseated (Darzi et al. 2014), which seems like a pretty miserable way to lose weight.

Vinegar has long been a folk remedy for diabetes, and recent science supports the association. Drinking about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal helps to control blood sugar in healthy adults as well as adults with diabetes (Johnston et al. 2013). The effect seems to happen because vinegar reduces the digestion of carbohydrates (Johnston et al. 2010).

Apple cider vinegar has impressive antibacterial and antifungal properties, including against pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli that cause foodborne illness (Yagnik, Serafin & Shah 2018). Vinegar has been used for centuries to clean wounds and disinfect surfaces.

One caution: Vinegar is quite acidic (about 5% acetic acid) and can irritate the skin, mouth and throat. It can also harm tooth enamel. If you drink it, dilute a tablespoon in at least a cup of water. Better yet, use vinegar as an ingredient in food: vinaigrettes for grain salads, green salads and other vegetables.

Unpasteurized vinegar still contains the “vinegar mother,” or the bacteria that converts wine into vinegar. Consider looking for unpasteurized brands, as those probiotic bacteria may have additional benefits.

PFTL News July 2018

WALKING CLINIC JUNE 18 – September 30

All are Welcome

This will be the fourth year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public.  We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or Julie@pftl.net for more information.  Let us know if you want to be put on our email list for the walking clinic, as walkers are notified when the class is cancelled.

BONE BASICS (from IDEAfit.com)

  • Calcium, vitamin D, dairy and physical activity are critical to preserving and building bone mass.
  • Bone mass peaks in the early 20s.
  • BMD = bone mineral density (measured in T-score, a negative number because it quantifies bone loss).
  • Osteopenia is the onset of bone loss (T-score -1 to -2.5).
  • Osteoporosis is the most serious bone loss (T-score below -2.5).
  • Walking has limited effect on bone health. However, if combined with impact and resistance training, walking can help maintain BMD in the hip region and in the lumbar and sacral spine (Karaguzel & Holick 2010). In people over 65, increasing daily steps by 25% has been associated with an increase in hip BMD (McMillan et al. 2017).
  • Progressive resistance training helps to maintain and improve BMD.
  • High-impact activities (jumping, hopping, skipping) help the most with bone growth.
  • Posture and balance training are essential to fall prevention.
  • Heavy resistance training is safe and improves bone, function and stature.
  • Women over 50 have the highest risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

NOT ALL VITAMIN D IS CREATED EQUAL (excerpted from IDEAfit.com)

We live in a part of the world where getting enough Vitamin D from the sun is almost impossible, yet we need to keep our Vitamin D levels up throughout the year.  After all, the sunshine vitamin is not only important for bone health but has also been tied to a lower risk for certain cancers, heart conditions and depression.

That said, where you get your vitamin D matters. Researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2017) that when study volunteers received 600 IU of vitamin D daily via fortified juice or biscuits for 3 months, vitamin D3—the form found in animal foods like fish and eggs, as well as some supplements—was nearly twice as effective at raising blood levels of the nutrient than was vitamin D2, a plant-based form typically used to fortify vegan foods like dairy-free milk and vegetarian-friendly supplements.

A separate study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015, discovered that after supplementation stopped, vitamin D levels declined less rapidly when participants had been taking D3 than when D2 was the supplement of choice.

DOES SLEEP HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT (from ACE Health eTips)

Sleep has the potential to help people lose weight, but not just any sleep will do. It’s important to get an adequate amount of deep sleep every night, as it is the most restorative, providing both mental and physical recovery benefits, which supports the weight-loss journey.

Most research indicates that less than 7 hours of sleep correlates with being heavier, gaining weight, risk of disease, cancer and struggling to lose weight. Other research suggests than 6.5 hours is a sweet spot and anything more increases inflammation, depression and mortality rates (Walker, 2017). Many experts believe that a range of six to eight hours or seven to nine hours is ideal for most people.

The right amount of sleep depends on each individual’s unique physiology. Devote time and attention toward finding what works for you, because it could make or break your weight-loss efforts. “Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective,” writes Matthew Walker, Ph.D., author of Why We Sleep.

How Sleep Influences Weight Loss

Sleep is the foundation needed to support exercise and healthy eating habits. When people don’t get enough sleep, it can become more challenging to control behavior and inhibitions. They might be more likely to seek pleasure in foods and replace exercise-related activities with those that offer a “quick fix” reward, such as surfing the Internet or watching television.

Lack of sleep strengthens the desire for rewards, which usually leads to unhealthy eating. More specifically, leptin (which decreases hunger), ghrelin (which increases hunger) and endocannabinoids (which are linked to snack cravings) are hormones that regulate appetite. When sleep volume is low, these hormones stimulate a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods.

Without enough sleep, the body is essentially in a state of duress, which can lead to eating more calories to deal with the “threat” it perceives. Also, the more time spent awake, the more time there is to consume snacks.

Another hormone, cortisol, ideally spikes in the morning, providing energy for the day, and reduces at night, encouraging sleep. When sleep habits are poor and stress is high, cortisol levels remain elevated, which may inhibit weight loss and disrupt sleep. A cycle of stress and sleep disruption results. Stress affects sleep and sleep affects stress, which once again makes it challenging to implement even the most well-designed program for weight loss.

Getting enough sleep and rising at a consistent time every day supports hormones to regulate appetite and food choices. Take small steps toward better sleep and be gentle with yourself. In other words, don’t let stressing about not getting enough sleep add more stress. You don’t need to (and probably cannot) fix your sleep habits overnight. Progress slowly.

 

ENJOY YOURSELF THIS SUMMER – NOW THAT IT IS FINALLY HERE!

PFTL News June 2018

NEW WALKING CLINIC STARTS JUNE 18

This will be the fourth year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public.  We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or Julie@pftl.net for more information.  Let us know if you want to be put on our email list for the walking clinic, as walkers are notified when the class is cancelled.

USE MYOFASCIAL RELEASE AFTER A WORKOUT  (from ACE Fit Tips May 2018)

You have seen them in our studio:  foam rollers, compression balls and rolling-pin-like sticks all help reduce muscle tightness, and at least one of them should be a part of your regular recovery program. If a muscle doesn’t experience a proper cool-down, or is held in a shortened position for an extended period of time, collagen, which are inelastic fibers that are a component of the connective tissue surrounding each muscle, can bind between layers of muscle and create adhesions or knots. Traditional massage therapy works by manually manipulating muscle tissue to break up adhesions, allowing the layers of muscle to slide against one another without restrictions. The pressure and motion of a muscle moving on a foam roller can help break up adhesions and realign muscle tissue to be able to function normally.

In general, foam rollers provide the greatest response when an individual places a body-part directly on top of the roller and moves rhythmically to apply pressure to the underlying muscle and elastic connective tissue. Breaking up adhesions can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint range of motion. Because it is not practical to hire a massage therapist after every workout, foam rollers, rolling sticks or compression balls can be used to apply the necessary pressure to break up collagen and promote optimal muscle recovery.

Do not, however, try to “roll out” your low back or neck with a foam roller, as you will be putting unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae.  Instead, use compression balls to apply pressure to the muscles only, not the bones.

BRAIN GYM ACTIVITIES – (from IDEA Fitness Journal May 2018) These are short, intentional exercises used in workplaces to release stress and enhance learning and work productivity. Here are two to try:

Cross-crawls. Stand or sit and march in place, touching one hand to the opposite knee, then doing the reverse (alternate). Continue for 4-8 complete breaths to activate both brain hemispheres. This exercise engages the brain and coordinates visual, auditory and kinesthetic abilities.

The owl. Grasp the R shoulder with the L hand near the neck and squeeze firmly. Inhale deeply, and then exhale, turning the head to look over the R shoulder. Inhale and return to center. Drop the head forward and exhale, then inhale and raise head. Repeat for 3 or more breaths and then switch sides. The owl relaxes the neck muscles and increases listening comprehension.

FIVE FOODS YOU WANT TO SKIIP TO STAY SLIM  (from ACE Healthy Living May 2018)

More than 20,000 new food and drink items hit our grocery store shelves each year and, with so much conflicting information about health and nutrition floating around, it can be challenging to know what you should and should not be putting in your body. Here are five foods with unwarranted health halos that aren’t doing your body any favors, especially if you’re trying to reduce or maintain your weight.

Fruit Juice – skip the juice to stay slim. Eat your fruit—don’t drink it. Juice adds calories in a concentrated form without any of the fiber found in real fruit, which is one of the best reasons to eat fruit. When you juice fruit and discard the pulp or don’t include the peel, you’re getting rid half or more of the fiber. If you like the idea of juice for the flavors it offers, add fresh fruit to your water.

Granola Bars – Granola bars aren’t so good for your waistline. If it looks like a cookie and it tastes like a cookie…it’s a cookie. At its core, granola is just a grain with added sugar and fat. Package it up in bar form and it gets even less healthy. Most commercial granola bars are made with refined grains and contain added sweeteners and fat, and they rarely feature whole grains, fiber or protein, which should be key components of a better-for-you bar. You can find great recipes for homemade granola bars that are full of fiber and flavor. Bypass the granola bar aisle and save yourself from what are clearly just cookies in disguise.

Flavored Yogurt – flavored yogurt is bad for your waistline. If you can tolerate dairy, there is nothing wrong with plain yogurt. Unfortunately, not all yogurts are created equal, and most are packed with added sugar. Fruited and flavored yogurts are the worst, as they pretend to feature fruit. If they actually did include real fruit, it would also contain fiber, which yogurt products don’t. If you like fruited yogurt, make it yourself by adding real fruit to real yogurt and leave the flavored stuff on the shelf.

Veggie Chips – veggie chips aren’t a healthy food. Veggie chip bags show pretty pictures of real vegetables, but the ingredient list tells a different story. Most vegetable chips are a variety of fried and salted versions of potato starch. While a potato is technically a vegetable, when you fry and salt it, you negate its nutritional value. In other words, veggie chips are glorified potato chips. You want real veggie chips? Cut up vegetables, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with a modest amount of salt and bake them. If you want potato chips, buy them, but don’t pretend your veggie chips aren’t French fries in disguise.

Pretzels – pretzels aren’t good for staying slim. Somewhere in the fat-free frenzy of the 1990s, people got the notion that pretzels were a health food. Sure, they have no fat, but neither does white bread. And pretzels are just white bread with a little more crunch and salt. What about whole-grain pretzels, you say? You’d be hard-pressed to find a pretzel in which the first ingredient is actually a whole grain. Even pretzels made with whole grains are mostly refined white flour that contains no fiber. If you want a satiating snack, choose nuts over pretzels. Nuts contain fat, fiber and protein, and are a much more satiating snack.

PFTL News May 2018

WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS (that you may not have considered) (from Eat this, Not That, as referenced in ACSM newsletter)

Aside from exercise, stretching, keeping a journal and the usual fitness improvement suggestions, here are a few interesting ones, which you probably haven’t thought about.

Order Your Coffee Black – Drinking java (with no cream or sugar) has been linked to lowering your risk of depression, providing migraine relief, curbing cravings, improving skin elasticity, and relieving migraines. And the glorious benefits don’t just end there: According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, participants who sipped caffeinated coffee had a 16 percent higher metabolic rate on average than those who drank decaf.

Look Up Restaurant Menus – Before RSVPing to that birthday dinner and texting “yes” in all caps in response to a brunch invite, make sure to spend a few minutes reviewing the restaurant’s menu. If you take the time to decide what you’ll order before you sit down to a meal, you’ll maximize your chances of making a more informed decision and order healthily.

TIP – Another pro tip: Volunteer to order first! If you wait for the waiter to take everyone else’s orders first, you’re more likely to rethink your healthy decision.

Clean your Kitchen – When was the last time you cleaned out your salt and pepper shakers? These shocking findings may convince you that it’s spring cleaning time: University of Virginia researchers tested the surfaces of salt and pepper shakers belonging to 30 participants who had cold-like symptoms and found that all had traces of the cold virus. Other gross things in your kitchen are likely also contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Another reason to keep your eating space organized? A study published in the journal Environment and Behavior discovered that people eat 40 percent more food when they’re in a messy kitchen.

Snap a Selfie – Sure, stepping on a scale may help you stay accountable for your weight-loss plan, but snapping a selfie may be a more effective method. According to researchers at the University of Alicante in Colombia, taking full-body pictures and documenting waist circumference helped over 71 percent of dieters reach their goal weight. And a smaller waist circumference correlates to a reduced risk of metabolic diseases. Next time you’re at the gym, don’t be shy to snap a selfie—it may help you crush those summer body goals after all.

Vacuum – You’ll burn calories, reduce allergies, and transform the most-dreaded household chore into your new favorite pastime. How? Just by plugging in your Dyson. Researchers at the UCLA Department of Medicine found that dust mites that occupy your home’s hidden spaces can trigger allergies and cause you to pop antihistamines, which, if used frequently, can increase your appetite and carbohydrate cravings.

Boil Some Eggs – Taking less than 10 minutes to boil some eggs for the week ahead will help pack your diet with lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that work to promote eye health. And forking the orbs for breakfast may even help you keep your tummy tight.  A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that participants who ate eggs for breakfast experienced a 65 percent greater weight loss and a 34 percent greater reduction in waist circumference than those who bit into a bagel bright and early.

Follow the 20/20/20 Rule – If you spend the day staring at blue-light-emitting screens (hello, iMac and iPhone) like the majority of Americans, you likely suffer from watery, bloodshot eyes by end of day. Combat your iDevices’ peeving side effects by investing in computer glasses (we especially like Pixel‘s) and try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your screen and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. It’ll help you reduce eye strain and fatigue, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

KETOGENIC DIET (from ACE Health Tips 4/19/18)

The ketogenic diet is a hot topic in nutrition today. Keto recipes are everywhere, and everyone knows someone who has at least tried the keto diet. But what exactly are “exogenous ketones,” where are they found, and how do they impact health and performance?

What are Ketones?  – Ketones (also referred to as ketone bodies) are metabolites of fat oxidation and are produced in the liver. The foremost circulating ketones in the blood are acetoacetate (AcAc) and 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB). Their primary function is providing brain fuel because the brain can only utilize glucose and ketone bodies for energy. Additionally, ketones can function as hormone signalers and be oxidized in muscles during exercise.

Nutritional Ketosis – Nutritional ketosis (i.e., increased ketone levels in the body) can be achieved in multiple ways, including fasting, following a carbohydrate-restricted diet (<50 grams/day), prolonged exercise without carbohydrate intake, or by consuming exogenous ketones. Exogenous means consuming a product (produced outside of the body), whereas endogenous describes breaking down stored fuels in the body (typically carbohydrate, fat and protein).

The terms ketosis and ketogenic have slightly different meanings. Ketosis describes elevated blood ketone levels from either endogenous or exogenous ketones (i.e., produced from the liver or taken as a supplement). Ketogenic describes a state of elevated ketone bodies from following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (such as the ketogenic diet).

Proponents believe that the potential benefits of exogenous ketones stem from an improvement in overall substrate metabolism. Exogenous ketones may preserve endogenous fuel; that is, limit (or possibly suppress) the breakdown of carbohydrate for energy during exercise. Unlike the conventional model of fat utilization during exercise, ketones are oxidized at high intensities. Additionally, ketones do not impact insulin as carbohydrate and amino acids do; thus, they may be a preferential supplement for individuals with insulin resistance.

The possible disadvantages of exogenous ketones are their palatability and tolerance. Supplemental ketone esters are very bitter and cause significant gastric upset in some subjects.

Ketone salts and esters likely have no effect on body composition, because they still provide calories. They may be mis-marketed as fat-burning supplements (which is technically correct as ketones are derived from fat), but exogenous ketones will likely not produce the same body composition-improving results as an energy-restricted or ketogenic diet.

Summary:  During exercise, exogenous ketones may essentially function as a fourth fuel source. Based on limited research, they do not necessarily provide an advantage over other exogenous fuels (carbohydrate, fat or protein). If you can afford and tolerate them, exogenous ketones likely do not decrease performance (as the only side effects thus far are high cost and gastrointestinal upset) and may preserve endogenous fuels.

 

PFTL NEWS December 2017

NON-EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS (NEAT) (from ACE Healthy Living Nov. 2017)

Your metabolism is always working to burn energy. During periods of higher activity, your body will burn more calories than when you are at rest. (Note: A calorie is just a measure of unit of energy; technically speaking, it’s the energy required to heat one liter of water by one degree centigrade.) But even at rest, your body is always expending energy. How you burn energy or expend calories, which is called the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), can be organized into three distinct categories:

  1. Basal metabolic rate (BMR; also known as resting metabolic rate, or RMR) is the amount of energy the body uses to support the functions of the organs and physiological systems, and comprises approximately 60-75% of TDEE. The three organs most responsible for burning calories at rest are the liver, brain and skeletal muscle, which burn 27, 19 and 18 percent of the RMR, respectively. It’s worth noting the brain alone uses about one-fifth of your RMR, which helps explain why you don’t think as clearly when you’re hungry.
  2. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy the body uses to convert the food into more energy or to move it to a location to be stored (as fat) for use at a later time, and makes up about 10% of daily energy expenditure.
  3. The thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA) accounts for the remaining energy expenditure—about 15-30% of daily energy output. Included in this number is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is the amount of energy the body burns after exercise to return to its normal state.

When it comes to TEPA, there are two different types of activity: planned exercise and the spontaneous non-exercise activities that occur every time you perform some sort of physical exertion, such as standing up from a seated position or running to catch the bus. While exercise is an important form of physical activity that can burn hundreds of calories at a time, other forms of physical activity, called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), can play a ignificant role in helping to maximize the total amount of calories burned in a single day.

Here are six things to know about NEAT and how it can help you reach your health and weight-loss goals:

  1. Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Daily steps add up. The U.S. Department of Health has been promoting 10,000 steps a day as an achievable goal for daily physical activity. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. If you can carve out even a few minutes for playing catch, kicking a ball or walking down to your neighborhood park, you will be spending precious time with your offspring while racking up NEAT. 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.

If losing weight is your primary reason for exercising, NEAT is an essential component of that objective. One pound of body fat can provide approximately 3,500 calories worth of energy. Increasing NEAT by 200 calories (about the equivalent of walking two miles), while also making healthier nutritional choices to reduce caloric intake by 300 calories (the equivalent of a 12-ounce soda and a small bag of potato chips) equals about five hundred fewer calories a day. If you do that seven days a week, you will quickly reach the amount of calories necessary to eliminate a pound of fat. While seemingly small, making the effort to change your daily habits by adding more NEAT along with reducing overall caloric intake creates a foundation for long-lasting weight-loss success.

Have a wonderful holiday, and remember to follow your heart, but take your brains with you.