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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Words of Wisdom Thursday??
Everyday Ways to Boost Calorie Burn
Increase your metabolism by changing your daily habits — one step at a time
You can burn off the same number of calories (or more) as you would in a 1-hour aerobics class without ever setting foot in a gym or snapping on spandex. It's easy and it probably used to be part of your lifestyle.
Remember when you had to walk into the gas station to pay? When delivery pizza wasn't an option? When you mowed your own lawn? When you had to get off the couch to change the channel? These are just a few of the tasks that are becoming obsolete and depriving us of physical activity.
"Most people don't realize how very sedentary their life has become," says Steven N. Blair, PED (physical education doctor), director of research at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. According to Dr. Blair, a major (and often unrecognized) reason for the widening waistlines of Americans is this "gradual ratcheting down of daily life activity." The average adult expends about 300 to 700 fewer calories per day than her parents did, he says.
James Levine, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, has spent a decade studying the role that everyday movement, or NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis), plays in metabolism. His discovery: People who tap their feet, prefer standing to sitting, and generally move a lot burn up to 350 more calories a day than those who sit still. That adds up to nearly 37 pounds a year!
The good news is that adding simple activity back into your daily life is an easy, effective way to shape up, burn calories, and get healthy. Here are eight simple ways to bump up your activity level--and burn calories.
1. Take yourself off cruise control
Increase the intensity of your everyday tasks, from vacuuming to walking the dog, recommends Douglas Brooks, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer in Northern, CA. "Turn on some music, add in some vigorous bursts, and enjoy the movement," he says.
2. Step it up -- and down
Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you're lifting your body weight against gravity. In addition to taking the stairs at every opportunity, try stepping up and down on the curb while you're waiting for the bus or filling your gas tank, says Brooks.
3. Practice standing tall
To improve posture, Taylor-Kevin Isaacs, an exercise physiologist and professor at California State University, Northridge, recommends the following shoulder girdle crunch: Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing forward. Visualize a pen placed vertically between your shoulder blades, and squeeze them together as if you were trying to hold the pen in place. Hold for a count of 6, relax, and repeat 12 times.
7. Do chair-robics
Set a timer to ring hourly, advises Swami. "When it goes off, stand up, and sit down slowly four times," she says. "This will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch, and you'll be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day. That's a great way to strengthen your lower body."
8. Play waiting games
Don't just sit there while your computer is downloading or the copier is collating. Do a stretch (place both hands behind your head, open your elbows, and lean back), try balancing on one leg, or do a few buttocks squeezes