I guess we could all move to blue zones and enjoy the benefits but perhaps there is another way. If you don’t live in a blue zone, hope is not lost, perhaps you can design and craft some of the elements into your days
I’ve been researching the physical activity aspects of the blue zone lifestyle that describes the energy expended for everything we do that is not sports-like exercise. It’s termed NEAT which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
NEAT can have a significant impact on overall energy expenditure and weight management as well as keeping your muscles, joints and balance healthier. For example, in the Blue Zone of Okinawa, the older adults typically engage in activities such as gardening, walking, and cleaning, which are all forms of light physical activity. Similarly, in Sardinia, older adults engage in a lot of walking, tending to livestock and working on the land, which all increase their NEAT.
This is where I’d like your contribution. I’m writing the next Day Crafting workbook on self-care and I’d like to include some practical ideas. If we designed our environments, situations and lifestyles so that we had to include more NEAT what could we do?
Here are some of the examples I’ve collated.
- Park father away so you have to walk a bit further
- Don’t use the remote control or put it the other side of the room so you have to get up to use it
- Buy fewer ingredients more often, walk to local shops
- Cook from scratch, taking longer, moving around as you cook
- If you’re desk based, get a standing desk Use the toilet on a different floor, or one further away
- Walk and cycle more, drive less
- Replace mechanical conveniences.
- Rake the leaves up, cut the hedge with shears, mix food by hand
- Move every 20 minutes or so. Set an alarm on your watch to remind you
- Have walking meetings. Walk while you chat to a friend
I’d love to know what you would add. I’m looking for ideas that kind-of force us to move more. If NEAT activity is left to us feeling like it then I think that we’re less likely to incorporate it – unless you’re temperamentally wired to put more NEAT into your day. Let me know what your suggestions are.