A Neat Feat
Time spent sitting is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and shorter life span, regardless of physical activity levels. When Mayo Clinic scientists recently examined how nonexercise activities such as fidgeting, walking, and standing might help counter obesity and the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle, they found that study participants expended up to an extra 2,000 calories per day depending on body weight and level of activity. Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), as they call it, encompasses the expenditure of energy from everyday activities, not including calories burned during purposeful exercise sessions.
The results showed that regular low- to moderate-intensity activities significantly improved the levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin in the blood. Incorporate more NEAT activities—from reading while standing to raking the yard—into the day and health will improve. At the office, take NEAT a step further: Stand and rock on a board, like this beautifully designed bamboo one from FluidStance, called the Level. Researchers found an average 15 percent increase in heart rate for those using the Level compared with sitting. While it will not tone the core, it may help maintain a healthy weight, improve balance, and shift one from a sedentary to a more active lifestyle. ($289 to $429) »fluidstance.com