Getting movement outside of the gym by walking

Why Movement Outside of the Gym is Important and 4 Tips to Help

Lifting weights and getting your heartrate up via exercise is amazing, we love & support it 100%. But the real challenge is getting in movement OUTSIDE of the gym. Let me ask you a question. Are you sitting at a desk 7-8 hours a day, maybe getting up for a few minutes to go to the bathroom or fill your water bottle, but are you primarily sitting the majority of your day?

After you truthfully answer that question, I’m going to drop a mind-blowing statistic that might make you start prioritizing movement outside of the gym!

The Research on Movement Outside and Daily Steps

Mortality risk was reduced by 50% for older adults who increased their daily steps from around 3,000 to around 7,000, according to research.

Just to put movement outside into perspective; a 30 minute brisk walk is roughly 3,000 steps. It just goes to show how sedentary our society has actually gotten, because 30 minutes is not a long time when you zoom out and look at your day to day.

If that didn’t sink the nail in the coffin for you, I have another fact about walking that will hopefully blow your mind.

When we look at our total daily energy expenditure (how much energy our body burns in a day), we look at 4 different categories:

  1. BMR (basal metabolic rate) accounts for about 70% of your daily calorie burn. Our BMR is essentially determined from our stats like our age, height, muscle & fat mass, dieting history (chronically under-eating lowers our BMR), etc. 
  2. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) accounts for about 15% of your daily calorie burn & that is movement outside of the gym! Walking, fidgeting, mowing the lawn, going grocery shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. 
  3. TEF (thermic effect of food) accounts for about 5-10% which is the amount of calories your body burns just digesting good. Protein has the highest thermic effect, meaning your body burns more calories digesting protein than any other macronutrient, which is why we love a high protein intake
  4. EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) accounts for about 5-10% of your daily calories burned through intentional exercise, so what we do inside these 4 walls; CrossFit classes in Newport, MN! The more muscle we have, the higher our BMR is. So, in the long run we want to exercise & lift weights but it’s important to differentiate the amount of calories actually burned through NEAT & EAT.

That’s right, movement outside of the gym accounts for 15% of your calorie burn, while movement inside the gym accounts for only 5-10%. If you skimmed through the article to find the takeaway message, here it is: many people view their 1 hour in the gym as their primary movement for the day but I want you to flip the script. Your primary movement should be the time spent outside of your workout. If you are thinking “there is no way I can step away from my work to go for a walk during the day” I have 4 things for you to consider and implement:

  1. You need to start prioritizing your overall health. For some folks, that might be looking at work / life balance dead in the eyes. Staying sedentary is not the answer. 
  2. On Sundays, look at your schedule for the week ahead. Block off 15-20 minutes to help escape your excuses mid week! 
  3. Pro tip: pair your lunch break with a walk. It’s the perfect time to start implementing more movement if you aren’t sure where to squeeze it in.
  4. Get a fitness watch that helps track your steps. See where you’re currently at and then aim for 1,000 more. Once that feels comfortable, tack on another 1,000.

Let’s make NEAT (non exercise activity) neat again! 😜