May Health Tips: NEATen up & Enjoy the Rays!
As they say, April showers bring May flowers. What a wonderful time to reflect on our life and bloom!
Increase your NEAT
No, we’re not talking about your neatness (though it is the season for Spring Cleaning!), we’re talking about your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), or your energy that you use for movements other than exercise, sleeping and eating.
As you’ve probably heard, sitting for prolonged amounts of time has been linked to poor health regarding physical ailments like low back pain and chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases. On the hand, continuous and regular movements throughout the day have been shown to be an effective tool for health and weight management, supporting your efforts in the gym and in the kitchen.
So, how can you get some more NEAT in your life?
You could NEATen your house (see what we did there :P): regularly vacuum, sweep, pick things up, manually do the dishes
Take the stairs at work
Plan for regular bathroom/ water/ movement breaks at work
Pick up a hobby like gardening
Pace or fidget while you’re on the phone or waiting in line
Carry your grocery bags from the cash to your car
Move your arms and legs while you’re sitting at your desk
Be like a flower, harness the sun’s energy
Plants use the sun’s energy to blossom, and humans can too!
Sun exposure stimulates vitamin D3 synthesis in our bodies, an important vitamin that works with the mineral calcium in processes that affect bone health, and muscle, nerve and immune system functions, and promotes endorphins release (those feel-good hormones you get, especially after a TriForce class).
However, as a disclaimer, it’s important to note that, as in everything in life, too much sun can have adverse effects and increase your risk of skin cancer. To smartly get the sun exposure without the risks, check out Health Canada’s sun tips here.
End of story: SENSIBLE sun exposure is a fantastic way to boost your health and your mood!
Choose bang-for-your-buck foods
At the end of the day, weightloss or weight gain (and not necessarily health) comes down to energy balance: calories in vs calories out.
However, the quality of your calories can have a much more meaningful impact on your health and ability to stay in the caloric imbalance to reach your goals. The composition of your macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) affect your body’s physiological processes, which in turn influence your overall health. Missing out on important nutrients can lead to your body to signal hunger cues in an attempt for you to provide it with what it needs, which may lead to eating more calories than your goals need or may lead to dissatisfaction or crankiness (“you won’t like me when I’m HANGRY”).
Avoid the not-so-fun starved feelings and calorie confusion by opting for nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. You’ll be happy to hear that these whole foods tend have less calories in them per serving compared to more processed items, so you’ll have more freedom to enjoy the foods and not worry about counting calories, all while cashing in on all the nutrient goodies!