6 Micro-Movements That'll Help You Burn More Calories
Exercising less with the right intensity is key to losing fat, but so, too, is simply moving your body more on a regular basis. Walk. Take the stairs. Do a few pushups here and there. Do 10 bodyweight squats before you eat. Pick up your kids. Run to the mailbox. Do some lunge walks down the hall. Get up out of your chair every 15 minutes and stretch.
All of these micro-movements add up over time and can help you burn more calories and avoid turning into the hunchback of Notre Dame. After all, the human body does not become weak and decrepit because of the aging process; it gets that way because we become lazy and fail to provide adequate stimulation for it to continue getting stronger and working at its best.
For instance, it's been well established that daily exercise such as walking for 30 minutes yields substantial health benefits and that regular physical activity attenuates the health risks associated with overweight and obesity. In fact, a large 20-year study in Sweden found that, among 7,142 men, those who were most physically active during leisure time had a lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.
Instead, take on the micro-movements challenge.
Most people gain weight over several years or decades because of small, unconscious habits (eating one or two chocolates a day, grabbing a Starbucks milkshake—er, I mean Frappuccino—every morning, etc.). You can reverse that trend and lose that weight by incorporating some of these micro-movements into your day as one of the 10 commandments of successful fat loss. Keep in mind that these movements are not a replacement for your workouts. They are simply tools to keep your body active throughout the day:
1. Do 25 bodyweight squats first thing in the morning when you get up
2. Run to the mailbox or to the nearest stop sign.
3. Run up and down the stairs three times each day.
4. Do 10 pushups before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
5. Stand up and do 5 lunges after every 20 minutes of sitting.
6. Plank for the duration of one commercial break when you're watching TV.
Another way to consider the importance of regular movement is by understanding a simple equation from physics: Work = Force x Distance.
This is the single most important tool I use when talking about how your body can burn more calories and thus fat. Here, work represents how many calories your body burns. Force is the amount of weight moved, and distance is, well, the distance covered.
And a few simple micro-movements can mean that your force and distance increase, and your work (a.k.a. calories burned) will naturally increase. So go ahead, get moving.
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