There's no doubt that cardio is good for your heart, your mind and your body. But, raise your hand if you'd like to spend a little less time doing cardio and more time doing other things.
The good news is that you don't have to spend hours on end zooming away on the elliptical to burn more calories. When it comes to burning more, the key is increasing your NEAT.
NEAT is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or, the calories your body burns when you're living your daily life. Increasing your NEAT changes your metabolism, your calorie requirements and yes, the amount of time you need to do extra exercise in order to lose or maintain your weight.
Increasing your NEAT isn't impossible: adding small routines into your day can send your body revving into overdrive!
Walk more: If you have a sedentary job, adding in some extra walks can make a big difference. Get up every hour and spend 5-10 minutes walking. Just think: If you work a 6 hour day and spend 10 minutes walking each hour. you will have added a full hour of walking to your day. Besides work, park far away from stores, go for a walk after dinner, take the dog around the block. It all adds up!
Take the stairs: Instead of hopping in the elevator, get your heart pumping and take the stairs. If your office is 17 floors up, maybe start with a few flights and work your way up to at least half before you hop in for a ride.
Work around the house: Wash the dishes by hand, make the beds, vacuum the rugs, fold the clothes. Don't underestimate the power of a little housework when it comes to getting a tiny workout in.
Add in some new lounging routines: If you come home and sit all night watching TV or reading a book, try adding in some breaks. Do some bodyweight exercises during commercial breaks (think squats, jumping jacks, pushups..) or purchase a cheap rebounder and bounce while watching. Your lymphatic system will thank you.
The takeaway about NEAT? It's about adding up the simple movements throughout the day. Get moving!