Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ways To Move More At Work


NEAT helps keep your energy intake and output balanced, which is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Research shows that NEAT is responsible for 6 to 10% of the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) in sedentary individuals and 50% or greater in those who are very active throughout the day. It is clear that NEAT is a vital component of creating a healthy energy balance.

With sedentary jobs and lifestyles, NEAT is often greatly diminished. Even if you hit the gym a few times per week, you may not be moving enough to keep your weight in a healthy range. 

Ways to Work Movement Into Your Day

Adding more movement into your day doesn’t have to time consuming or difficult. Here are several ways to increase NEAT and planned activity during your workday.

Take Movement Breaks

Setting timers for breaks is a simple and highly effective method for increasing movement. Choose a length of time that you will work, such as 1 hour, and set timers for breaks lasting 5 to 10 minutes.

Getting up to move around, performing light stretches, or going for a walk around the office or your home can help combat the adverse effects of sitting, such as pain, stiffness, and muscular imbalances. It also can help increase your energy expenditure.

One study shows that even short, 3-minute movement breaks when taken every 30 minutes can combat the effects of sitting, including more stable blood sugar levels, reduced “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, and improved fasting glucose. The blood flow boost that comes from getting out of your seat is the likely cause of these benefits, according to researchers.

Pace the Room

Whenever you have calls at work, try pacing the room instead of staying in your seat. Pacing not only increases your activity levels but may also help increase creativity—a win-win for your employer and your health.

Set Up a Movement Workstation

If you have the flexibility to switch out your regular desk set-up for a standing or walking workstation, you can increase your movement substantially. To reach 10,000 steps, for example, you only need to walk for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or up to 2 hours, depending on your stride length and speed. 

Alternatively, try standing for part of the day. While standing doesn’t burn too many extra calories compared to sitting, they do add up. And there are other benefits, such as a reduced risk of diseases and mortality.

Use Your Lunch Hour Wisely

If you have extra time at lunch, consider heading outdoors for a walk. Walking after your meal can help control blood sugar levels, adding even more significant benefits to your extra activity.

Another reason to walk during your lunch hour is that it utilizes a habit-building method called habit stacking. Because eating lunch is something you do every day on auto-pilot, stacking a walk onto that ingrained habit will help anchor movement into your daily routine.

Do Desk Exercises

There are several types of exercises you can do at your desk. Plus, equipment such as an under-the-desk peddler can help keep you moving and burning calories during your workday.

According to research, these devices have been shown to be beneficial for overweight office workers, who increased daily calorie burn without discomfort. You can also keep resistance bands and dumbbells nearby to grab when you are on calls, listening to meetings from your desk, or during one of your breaks.

Try Walking Meetings

If you feel comfortable, try pitching the idea of walking meetings. Whenever a brainstorming session or one-on-one meeting takes place with co-workers, taking the meeting on the move might be an option everyone can benefit from. Not only will it potentially increase creativity, but you will be able to get more movement into your day as well.

Take Advantage Of the Stairs

If your building has stairs, skip the elevator and take the stairs whenever you can. This recommendation is a popular, well-known one for a reason. Plus, stair walking exercises breaks can increase your cardio fitness level, reduce the risk of disease, and boost your fitness level. 

Stair climbing can burn three times as many calories as standing or light walking, making it a NEAT champion.   Plus, stair walking exercises breaks can increase your cardio fitness level, reduce the risk of disease, and boost your fitness level. 

Create Opportunities to Walk

Look for creative ways to build more walking into your day. Have a memo that you need to send to a co-worker? Get up and walk it over instead of relying on messaging or email.

Bring a small water bottle to work and fill it up as soon as it is empty. Park further away in the parking lot to increase your steps to and from the building.

And, walk to pick up your lunch rather than having it delivered to the office. Little trips like these will add up to substantial steps over the day.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Part of winning the battle with adding movement into your routine involves thinking things through or planning ahead. To set yourself up for success, use these tips to make movement more seamless and natural.

  • Schedule it: Schedule your breaks, lunch workouts, and movement into the day and stick to it.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Either wear or bring comfortable, supportive shoes you can move easily in to increase your motivation and desire to move more.
  • Keep basic fitness equipment nearby: If you keep workout equipment within sight, you’ll be more likely to use it. Using an exercise ball or balance disc are also great options for increasing NEAT.
  • Use a headset for calls: Walking while on calls is much easier and better for your posture when you use a headset or earphones with a microphone.
  • Add comfortable flooring: If you plan on standing at your desk, you might want to invest in a padded mat for comfort.
  • Find a workout buddy: Social support can increase your motivation and accountability to stick to your movement plans. Find someone to join you on your lunch break walks.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Lets Talk About Inflammation

What is inflammation?


Let’s talk about acute inflammation. When you cut yourself, bacteria, viruses, and things from the outside world get in. To simplify, picture your immune system as a group of particular cells roaming around the body, bumping into things and asking the question, “Excuse me, are you “me”? Or are you “NOT me”?”

If it’s a “me”, they say, “Hi me!” and keep going on their merry way. If it’s a “NOT me”, (like a bacteria), your immune cells tag it, alerting the rest of the immune system to rid it from the body and anything else that looks like it. This acute inflammatory response looks like swelling, redness, puss, scabbing and eventually healing.


What about CHRONIC inflammation? 


Chronic inflammation is something that lasts longer than three months. Chronic inflammation is the SAME response of the acute injury, but the “acuteness” doesn’t go away. It just keeps happening. I am going to use food as an example. We know there are certain foods that cause an inflammatory response. What kinds of foods do that? Processed foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, and alcohol.


I am going to pick on a donut here because it has gluten, dairy, sugar, and maybe even soy. Let’s say you eat a donut ONCE a year. Picture the donut situation as if you are basically taking a cheese-grater to your insides. If you do this ONCE a year, your body is like, “No problem, I got this!” But if you are eating donuts (or cereal, fast food, breads, pizza, noodles, etc.) every single day, this is what triggers the chronic inflammatory response over and over again. 


What happens over time is that inflammation becomes adaptive. Your body is adapting to its circumstances the best that it can. So, if you’re cheese-grating your body every day from food choices, then your body will work to create the inflammatory response every single time. 


And, if you cheese-grate your body enough, it begins to lose the game, and can't keep up with being able to get ahead of the injuries to HEAL.

This is when, eventually, disease will arise. But before disease arises, your body WILL give you a chance (or several chances) and clues as to what isn’t working. These chances or clues are called signs and symptoms. It's your body tapping you on the shoulder asking you to pay attention to the things that you're doing that are not working.



What do symptoms look like?




Joint pain

Skin rashes/bumps/acne

Weight gain



Heart palpitations

Infertility/irregular menstrual cycles

Mood disorders (anxiety/depression)

The list is endless…




These are only some examples.


And most humans end up ignoring the symptoms or taking a drug (or drugs) to bandage it, all while they keep doing what they are doing (cheese-grating) and over time this will most likely lead to a diagnosis.


The root cause of disease is the CHRONIC inflammatory response. And please know, it’s not just food that causes the cheese-grater response to our bodies. Things like sleep disruption, blood sugar dysregulation, as well as our own thoughts (like re-living traumas daily) can continuously trigger our body's inflammatory response.


The good news? You can DO something about this.  There are some really great books like “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear, to help rewrite your health journey. Podcasts like “The Doctor's Farmacy” with Dr. Mark Hyman is another great place to start or continue your education on health. These resources are game-changers for shifting the conversation between your ears.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Ways To Make Exercise a Habit


Exercise is good for your heart, bones and muscles, weight, and sleep. Staying fit can even help you live a longer, healthier life.

You’ll get more benefits from exercise if you make it a regular habit rather than a once-in-a-while burst of heavy activity. Even small amounts can do your body some good: Just 10 minutes of aerobic activity each day can lower your risk of heart disease.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, don’t try to do too much at once.  You risk muscle pain or damage, or even a stress fracture. That could prevent you from working out again. Instead, start slowly. Steadily build up how long or hard you work out over time.

How do you motivate yourself to turn exercise into another part of your normal routine? Here are a few tricks to make exercise a healthy habit:

Find Something Fun

Choose exercises you like that are comfortable for you. You’re more likely to carve time out of your day for a workout, activity, or class if you enjoy it. If music pumps you up, try a Zumba or water exercise class. If you like fresh air and trees, plan bicycle rides through the park. If you’re competitive, join a local golf or tennis league.

Tips: Pick exercises that you look forward to, not something you have to force yourself to do just because it’s good for you. Enjoyable activities are more likely to become habits:

  • Think about how and where you like to exercise: indoors or
  • outdoors, alone or with a group, at a gym or at home.
  • You don’t have to do the latest fitness fad that you read about on social media if it isn’t right for you. If it suits you to just walk on a treadmill while you listen to a podcast, that’s great!
  • Do a variety of activities so you don’t get into a rut and quit altogether.

Make It Convenient

Exercise will become a habit when it fits into your normal schedule. If you tend to wake up early, plan to work out in the mornings before you shower. If you usually watch TV in the early evening, keep hand weights nearby so you can do some reps while you catch up on your favorite show.

Tips: Combine your workout with things that are already part of your daily life:

  • Take brisk walks with your dog.
  • Dance to pop music while you vacuum the house.
  • Climb a few flights of stairs instead taking the elevator.
  • Have a little extra time? Walk to the market or mall instead of driving.

Put It on Your Calendar

Schedule workouts just as you do other appointments. If you plan to do a morning walk or water exercise class three times a week, put that time into your schedule and let people know you’re booked.

Tips: Set up regular exercise appointments in your calendar:

  • Find a workout buddy so you’re more likely to show up and exercise.
  • Create a recurring appointment in your mobile phone or computer so it’s always blocked off as time when you’re busy.
  • Set up reminders or alerts that pop up on your phone screen ahead of your workouts.

Set Realistic Goals

You can’t form habits overnight. It’s a journey. Set realistic goals for exercises and you’re more likely to keep it up and make it a habit.

Tips: Create rewards to help you stick to a long-term workout routine:

  • Plan to do five 10-minute walks each week.
  • Write down your plan and include a reward for when you meet your goal.
  • Once you hit that goal, reward yourself. Book a massage. Download a new audiobook. Plan a picnic in the park.

Stay Flexible

Sometimes, your schedule changes. You get a new job. You have an injury. You move to a new home that’s far from your old gym. This can throw off your workout routine. Don’t give up. You can get back on track. Create new exercise habits if your old ones don’t work for you anymore.

Tips: Adjust your workout habits to fit your new normal:

  • Find a gym, park, or walking path near your new home.
  • Sign up for an exercise class that fits into your new work schedule.
  • If you’re getting over an injury or illness, start to exercise again at your new pace or fitness level. Slowly build up your stamina and strength.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Benefits of Farmer Carries


How to Do a Farmer's Carry

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms resting at your sides. Place a set of dumbbells or kettlebells on the floor, one next to each foot.

  1. Squat down and grab a weight in each hand.
  2. Engage the core and pull your shoulder blades down and back while standing back up, returning to an upright posture.
  3. Step forward and begin walking. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and core muscles engaged.
  4. Continue walking for your desired time or distance.

You can perform a farmer’s carry for time or distance.  Either way, make sure you have enough space to walk as far or as long as you intend. 

Benefits of Farmer's Carry

The farmer’s carry targets your entire body. It strengthens the muscles in your biceps, triceps, forearms, shoulders, upper back, trapezius, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, lower back, obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis. If you use a heavy weight, you may feel the burn in your chest as well.

Since you carry the weights for a distance, this move is a good pick for improving grip strength in the hands and wrists. Grip strength is essential for performing daily activities like lifting and carrying grocery bags.

The farmer’s carry also helps strengthen your core. This may lead to reduced back pain, improved balance, and better flexion, extension, and rotation of your trunk.

Other Variations of the Farmer's Carry

You can vary this exercise to better meet your fitness level and goals.

Reduce Time or Distance for Beginners

If the workout you’re following calls for walking 40 yards but this is too far for you, cut the distance in half. You can also reduce time and weight. If you find that either is too much, put the weight down and rest before finishing the exercise.

Increase Load

To add resistance to the farmer’s carry, increases the weight. Just make sure you don’t compromise form and remember that a little bit goes a long way. There’s no need to make significant jumps in weight. Sometimes even five pounds makes a big difference.

Increase Distance or Time

You can also add to the distance or time when doing a farmer's carry if you want to boost its intensity. Challenge yourself during each workout session by increasing your distance by 10 yards or adding 15 seconds to the exercise. 

Walk a Straight Line

Work on balance by following a straight line. To do this, find a line or the edge of a surface you can follow for the prescribed time or distance. Try to take each step on this line without falling to either side.

Use Heavy and Light Weights Simultaneously

If you really want to challenge yourself, grasp a heavier weight in one hand and a lighter weight in the other. Hold the lighter weight overhead while walking and keep the heavier weight by your side. Change sides at the halfway point.

Common Mistakes

To keep the move safe and effective, avoid making any of these common mistakes. 

Using the Wrong Weight

While you shouldn’t be afraid to use a heavier weight, if your form is being compromised, that weight is too much. Keep the weight heavier when going shorter distances and lighter if you’re carrying for a longer distance, such as 40 to 60 meters.

Not Keeping the Core Engaged

Any time you are upright and moving, you’re engaging the muscles in your core. The power, stability, and support generated from these muscles will help you move quicker and protect your lower back from injury.

Leaning Forward at the Waist

Performing the farmer’s carry bent over at the waist causes pain and discomfort in the lower back. This can happen when you get fatigued and your technique begins to suffer. To properly perform this move, brace your core, stand tall, and look straight ahead for the duration of the exercise.

Raising the Shoulders

During this exercise, the shoulders should be pulled down and back. This can be a challenge for people who have a tendency to walk (or do another type of activity) with their shoulders hunched up toward the ears.

Walking with a hunched posture while holding dumbbells or kettlebells creates discomfort in the neck and shoulders. You will know if you’re doing this move correctly if it feels like you’re pushing the kettlebell or dumbbell toward the ground.

Safety and Precautions

Generally speaking, the farmer’s carry is a safe move for most fitness levels, especially since you can adjust the resistance and modify distance or time. However, if you have any health conditions that limit your ability to perform cardiovascular exercise, you should talk with your doctor before trying this move.

If you experience any discomfort while doing the farmer's carry, stop and take a break. Rest for at least two to five minutes before resuming the activity.

To prevent injury, start with lighter weights (10 to 15 pounds) and go shorter distances (10 to 20 yards). Once you've developed some endurance and this exercise starts to feel easier, start by increasing the weight you carry, then increase how far or long you walk.