Moving Through Life

Daily Motion Adds Up to Fitness



Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Exercise is often associated with the gym or yoga studio, but structured workouts aren’t the only way to keep physically and mentally fit. Whether regulating blood pressure, avoiding obesity or promoting brain health, regular movement throughout the day yields promising benefits. Research shows that small changes in routine tasks—from house cleaning to grocery shopping—can make quick and lasting improvements in overall health.

Burn Calories Without the Workout

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) burns calories by keeping us moving throughout the day. “In essence, NEAT is how we use our bodies when we’re not doing a specific exercise or sitting still,” says San Diego’s Pete McCall, author of Smarter Workouts: The Science of Exercise Made Simple.

Over time, doing simple things can add up, like getting off the couch to refill a glass of water or shoveling snow from the driveway. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, everyday activity outside of traditional exercise might be even more beneficial than an hour at the gym.

“Staying active throughout the day helps regulate hormones like insulin, which help metabolize carbohydrates to be used for fuel, and enzymes like lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which help release free fatty acids for muscle activity. Remaining sedentary for extended periods can actually lower LPL,” notes McCall, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and host of the podcast All About Fitness.

Stringing together lots of small decisions throughout your day and week can add up to significant gains in your strength and cardiovascular system …
~Jeremy Hyatt, personal trainer

Jeremy Hyatt, who owns Hyatt Training, a Portland, Oregon, gym, agrees that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or structured to make an impact. “Stringing together lots of small decisions throughout your day and week can add up to significant gains in your strength and cardiovascular system, and in the process, reduce risks for some of our main causes of disease and disability due to metabolic conditions.”

Hyatt suggests staying active by walking the dog after dinner, taking the stairs instead of an elevator and carrying two bags of groceries home from the store or to a distant parking spot. Adding simple body weight movements to everyday chores and tasks can also have a positive effect.

A research study in The Journal of Neuroscience links exercise and neurotransmitter production, offering new hope for depressive disorders in which levels of the brain regulators glutamate and gamma-eminobutyric acid (GAMA) are out of balance.

Bring on the Joy

Opting for activities that are fun and interesting is a surefire way to create a healthier lifestyle. Dancing, for instance, can offer a wide range of benefits, especially for older individuals. That’s why dance is now a significant component in many programs designed to treat depression, addiction and eating disorders.

“We’re never too old, too young, too inflexible, too busy, too anything to dance. The hardest part is just walking into the studio,” says Kat Wildish, a renowned former ballerina and master teacher in New York City.

For those older than 50, dance offers many advantages. “Dance gives us positive stimulus in both physical movement and the mental connection in a non-competitive environment. It has an immediate inverse effect to cortisol and raises serotonin,” says Wildish. “With proper alignment and joint care in mind, dance helps to combat the physical effects of aging such as arthritis, osteoporosis ...”

Researchers at the University of Miami’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine found that all types of exercise have been shown to improve thinking processes in older adults. Results of their study, published in Neurology: Clinical Practice, suggest that yoga, aerobic exercise and strength training yield the most significant results over an extended period.

Yet, moving the body regularly and consistently in everyday endeavors is an excellent starting point that can be richly rewarding. “Individuals can start to make quick and lasting changes to their overall health. Start by picking small changes,” says Hyatt.

Wildish agrees that making the decision to begin and keeping it fun is paramount. “Do what you can and stick with it when you find something that brings you joy, even when it’s challenging.”


Marlaina Donato is the author of several books, including Multidimensional Aromatherapy.


This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Equilibrium Studio Opens in Pawling

Equilibrium Studio Opens in Pawling

Equilibrium offers yoga, Pilates and Barre, as well as stretching and strengthening classes designed to help people rehabilitate from injuries and improve their athletic performance.
Dance the Weekend Away in Saratoga

Dance the Weekend Away in Saratoga

February 15 through 17
Natural Remedies Can Boost Immunity in Winter

Natural Remedies Can Boost Immunity in Winter

There is scientific evidence that acupuncture has a positive effect on the immune system.
Facial Massage Has Holistic Benefits

Facial Massage Has Holistic Benefits

“A well-performed facial massage is a glorious treat that will reduce puffiness, improve skin tone and enrich complexion."
‘Grandfather of Integrative Dermatology’ to Teach His Methods

‘Grandfather of Integrative Dermatology’ to Teach His Methods

“I encourage anyone living with unsolved chronic skin conditions to make an appointment and see how we can help you.”
Opioid Crisis Focus in Somers

Opioid Crisis Focus in Somers

1 to 3 p.m. February 7
Valerie Nivar Offers Natural Solutions for ‘Invisible Illnesses’

Valerie Nivar Offers Natural Solutions for ‘Invisible Illnesses’

“I am passionate about empowering my clients to achieve motivation and confidence and to live their best life.”
Sugaring Program at Sugar Hill Farm

Sugaring Program at Sugar Hill Farm

February 23
Holistic Chamber of Commerce Adds Poughkeepsie Chapter

Holistic Chamber of Commerce Adds Poughkeepsie Chapter

The new chapter will promote and support holistic and sustainable professionals and business owners in the Hudson Valley.
Synchronicity Brings Healing through Psychic Readings

Synchronicity Brings Healing through Psychic Readings

“These readings help offer guidance and insight into life situations.”
Microdermabrasion Now Offered by Daniela Hortencio

Microdermabrasion Now Offered by Daniela Hortencio

“It’s basically an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation procedure that leaves skin looking softer and brighter.”
Alternatives to Violence Project Seeking Workshop Facilitators

Alternatives to Violence Project Seeking Workshop Facilitators

The next Basic workshop in Westchester will take place March 8 to 10.
Quit with Quinn Introduces Free Info Sessions

Quit with Quinn Introduces Free Info Sessions

Quit with Quinn specializes in helping people quit drinking, smoking, eating sugar, using drugs or overeating, or overcome behavioral blockages.
March Retreat Focuses on Mastering Personal Energy

March Retreat Focuses on Mastering Personal Energy

March 8 through 10
Program Helps Seniors Conquer Fear of Falling

Program Helps Seniors Conquer Fear of Falling

Classes meet from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. The next session begins March 6
Self-Care Retreat for Women at Balance Wellness Studio

Self-Care Retreat for Women at Balance Wellness Studio

9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on February 17
Stronger Together Solidarity Fair in New Rochelle

Stronger Together Solidarity Fair in New Rochelle

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on February 3
Renovated Pellegrino Healing Center Opens in Hyde Park

Renovated Pellegrino Healing Center Opens in Hyde Park

"We tailor our services to each individual and create a safe and restorative space for healing.”
Stony Kill’s Winter on the Farm

Stony Kill’s Winter on the Farm

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on February 16
Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

A Promising Approach to Healing
Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

"The staff heals on a physical, mental and spiritual level."
Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

"This is a discovery place! Drop-ins are welcome."
Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

1 to 4 p.m., December 2
Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

7:30 p.m., December 6
SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

Laurie Mallis, M.D., a licensed acupuncturist, discusses and demonstrates AcuGraph Qi Analysis and Auricular (ear) Acupuncture
Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Through December, all clients will receive a free gift of anti-aging serum.
Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

“Each workshop will focus on the most important information for you to make positive changes in your life."
Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

“No experience is necessary—your practice is based upon never exceeding your own capacity.”

Add your comment: