A couple of days ago I was meeting a friend for a coffee at the local Starbucks in Sainsbury’s. I was on my own, sans kiddos, and had just got out of my parked car when she drove up behind me...
"Why are you parked so far away?" she asked..
I was parked at the outskirts of the car park, furthest from the supermarket doors.
"Erm... why not?" I replied...
But when I thought about it later I realised that I always park there.
It's a habit.
And I got into this habit for a number of reasons:
- I'm pretty rubbish at parking (ssshhhhhh)
- Parking on the outskirts is sometimes faster than negotiating a busy car park.
But above all, I generally park a little bit away from my destination, wherever I'm going (assuming I'm not late)...
Because this habit means that I add an extra 2 minute walk there and back. And when you add a school drop off, a supermarket shop, another errand, a school pick up, various after school activities, etc, etc... That's easily 20 minutes of walking that I wouldn't otherwise have completed.
The same principle can be applied if you're working in an office: use the lifts, go to the loos on a floor above or below, use the furthest water fountain / coffee machine and so on.
It all adds up and it is VITALLY important to overall health.
Energy expended in this way is known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT.
And some recent clinical trials suggest that increasing NEAT could represent a promising tool for body mass control and that NEAT could be far more important for calorie-burning than exercise in nearly everyone.
Dang - I'll be out of a job after this!
So the message is simple: seek out opportunities to make you move more.
And make it into a habit!