What is it?
Non-exercise physical activity is any activity done outside of your regular gym/exercise routine. It is the “unplanned” movement in our day. You may have also heard of NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) which is the process of burning calories through non-exercise activity! ;)
Why Do I Need It?
NEPA is essentially any movement that is not your regularly scheduled workout sessions. It is also an essential component in weight loss as it can make up a large component of your energy burned throughout the day! For example, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, “a 145 lb. person can expect to burn approximately 102 calories an hour while sitting at work. If that person stood while working, they would burn 174 calories. An extra 72 calories might not seem like a lot, but it can add up to more than 18,000 calories burned per year, leading to an approximate 5 lb. weight loss. Without utilizing NEAT, you would have to do 60 30-minute runs at 5 miles per hour to burn the same rate of calories.” Of course, these numbers are an estimate and will vary for each individual but is just to show you that you CAN burn more calories when adding in the additional movement to your day!
How Do I Do More of It?
-walk or bike instead of driving
-taking the stairs instead of the elevator
-parking further away at work
-taking movement breaks at work (get up, stand up and stretch for a few mins every hour!)
-standing instead of sitting at work (standing desk, hello!)
-doing yard work
-walking your dog
How Should I Track It?
An awesome way to track your movement is to get a step counter! Set a daily step goal and have some real data of how much extra movement you are really getting in a day!
Don’t have a step counter/Fitbit/watch that tracks your steps? Instead set yourself a movement goal for the day, for example, 40-60 minutes in addition to your regular workout.
So as you can see there are tons of easy ways to incorporate movement into your day outside of your hour at the gym that can help you reach your goals faster! Does that mean you should skip the gym altogether and just focus on NEPA? No, definitely not. Incorporating a regular routine of planned workouts and non-exercise activity are both important and coupled with a healthy diet can help you to lose weight, sleep better, have more energy and feel your best!