Do steps matter? Or is it just the latest fad?
Good questions. The answer is Yes, they do, and it’s for a couple of reasons.
Weight Management & NEAT
You’ll remember from our ‘The Basics of Nutrition’ section that we chatted about Energy Balance. When you are looking to manage your weight, you need to consider how your energy intake (calories consumed) matches up with your energy output (calories burned on an average day).
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) made up of a number of different things:
- Exercise Energy Expenditure (EEE) = energy expended during exercise.
- Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF) = energy expended through digesting food (protein has the highest TEF of all the macronutrients).
- Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) = energy expended for everything that is not sleeping, eating or exercise.
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) = energy required to sustain vital functions in a waking but inactive state.
The easiest way to control the energy balance equation is to control the input (calories in) and we never advise our clients to approach exercise as a tool to ‘burn off’ calories - that encourages an unhealthy approach and takes away from all its other benefits. However, NEAT is absolutely something to consider when looking at weight management.
NEAT is the easiest part of the energy output equation to manipulate and is most often tracked through tracking someone’s steps as it tends to be a good indicator of daily activity levels.
Increasing your daily activity levels and therefore (NEAT) can have a big impact on your total energy expenditure and will therefore help you manage your weight more effectively!
Moving is good for your physical health! We live in an increasingly sedentary world (especially now with Coronavirus and the rise of working from home) and hours spent at a desk, sitting down, in front of a laptop are not good for our bodies.
Ever started to get niggles and pain in your back, neck, shoulders after hours of prolonged sitting? When we do that for too long our body starts to learn ‘bad habits’ and it can lead to niggles and poor physical health long term.
Of course, sometimes you just can’t pull yourself away from your desk, and that’s okay. How are you fitting in movement around that? How about these...
- Standing desk
- Desk Stretches
- Hourly get up and walk around
- Morning and evening outing/walk
- Increasing steps at the weekend
- Exercise and mobility
So, YES, steps matter! They will help you manage your weight more effectively and keep you physically more healthy. Try taking the stairs, walking to work, or tracking and increasing your daily steps over time.
PSA. You don't have to hit 10,000 steps… understand your starting point and go from there!.