When I was a kid we didn’t have computers, the internet or Facebook. If you’re younger than 50 you may wonder if I was:
But no, no, and I wish.
I spent a good amount of days doing this thing called “going outside and playing.” Keep in mind this required absolutely no Facebooking friends first, Instagramming the backyard, or Tweeting about how I was being raised by “mean parents” and someone please publicly shame them so I can start a GoFundMe page and get out of this living hell.
Worse, yet, it’s not as if we lived next door to DisneyLand. We had an above-ground swimming pool in the summer, a hill to sled down in the winter (a big one and a small one — the latter if you didn’t mind an icy face plant at 100 mph), and a whirly bird seated contraption that required a rowing motion to operate with a partner.
Not exactly theme park material.
Looking back, I don’t know how I survived.
Today, I sit here typing on my computer while my cell phone pings with messages and Facebook alerts pop up telling me people need my opinion on important things right this minute!
Needless to say, one lifestyle lands heads and shoulders above the other in weight loss and calorie-burning potential than the other. Can you guess it? Here’s a hint:
Calories burned Playing Outside for five hours or until frostbite set in: 1,000+
Calories burned sitting here writing this post: 2
I’m exaggerating of course, but you get my drift. I don’t move around as much as I did in the past. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
Here’s the thing: Lack of movement means fewer calories burned, which equals more fat stored and BAM! So of course we blame aging.
Yes, it’s easier to gain weight as get older, but it’s not due to an Evil Belly Fat Fairy waving her bacon wand over all 50-year old women.
The real culprit: We slow the heck down. And we lose muscle. The good news is you can do something about both these things. A lot, actually.
First, the loss of muscle. This process starts in our 30s and only worsens with age. It’s why your metabolism slows down as you get older. Muscles burn calories at rest and literally make up your “resting metabolism.
More muscle equals a higher metabolism. I cover all this in my free webinar, How to Firm Up After 50, so check that out when you can for all the details.
As for slowing down in general…
Most of us count the calories burned during exercise, using the cardio machine monitor to reach a certain goal and making sure it’s an even number and that aligns with the number of workout minutes.
Or maybe that’s just me.
In reality, the calories you burn outside of your workout count for far more.
How so, you say?
It’s called NEAT, for “non-exercise activity thermogenesis.” These include all little movements you do throughout the day — fidgeting, getting up and down to pee a hundred times a day from drinking the recommended 11 cups a day, playing with the cat, and otherwise annoying anyone within a 10-yard radius.
All those fidgeting activities add up to a lot of extra calories burning over time. Studies show lean people tend to be more fidgety than obese people. The latter spend more than two more hours a day simply sitting still.
All the talking with their hands, hair twirling and foot tapping amounts to burning approximately 350 extra calories a day, which could add up to a 30 lb weight loss in a year.*
Super sedentary people use only around 15% of their calorie burn doing NEAT, while their active counterparts move enough for NEAT to comprise 50% of their daily burn.
So yes, you can burn hundreds of extra calories by simply being more active during the day — without doing any type of structured exercise.
Sounds simple, right?
Well surprise! It actually is simple, for once.
And — bonus! — it’s also easy.
No sweat, literally.
Incorporate more movement into your everyday activities and you’ll soon see the scale veer off in the right direction. The key: Give it time! This isn’t a get-thin-quick scheme (and those never work in the long term anyway).
Add a few of the below activities, cut out 100 to 200 calories (that’s a couple bites of lasagna) and you WILL see results.
YOUR TURN! What NEAT activities will YOU do to rack up calorie burning? Let me know in the comments section below…
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(*3,500 calories = 1 lb)
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.