C2 READING Never underestimate the importance of NEAT

(Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis)

Read the following text and decide which 7 of the statements below are true, according to the information
in the text. There are 4 statements you do not need.

When one thinks about fitness and looking neat, we are likely to conjure up images of the gym bros and gals grinding out and religiously pushing through their deadlift, bench press or squat PRs at their local gym, CrossFit dudes and girls killing their WODs, bonding with one another and giving each other high fives after completing those ridiculously intense workouts, but also those girls and guys who would rather be toned than look heavy and diligently sweat it off on the treadmill for an hour a day, every day, or are more drawn to the social and even playful component of exercise and may consider joining a bodypump, cardiobox, bosu ball or whatever new gimmick becomes the latest scream for the more uninitiated. And I am glad more and more people understand and want to reap the benefits of just moving more and exercising, but I believe that the concept of «movement» is far more comprehensive and, thus, more important. Sure, I think in this day and age of modern comfort and ubiquitous technology and gadgets galore, it is necessary to include in our routine scheduled / regulated (that is, subjected to rules and standards assessing their correct or ill-performance) physically demanding activities (i.e.: exercising either indoors or outdoors and giving our heart, lungs, joints and muscles some extra work to do), but I also believe the greater service or disservice we are doing to our bodies and health occurs outside the gym, the occasional 10k run, the spinning class or the Paddle tennis game.

Of course, the way we eat (aka: «our diet») is going to play a CRUCIAL role in the way we look and feel, but I also think little attention is paid to our everyday/routine NON-exercise movements.

I mean, have you ever wondered why some people brag about eating like a horse and look consistently lean while others moan about not skipping one single day at the gym, putting the work, and doing whatever their Zumba/CrossFit/Body Pump/ Cardio instructor tells them to, sticking to a sucky, life-depriving diet, and yet, keep struggling to make their bodies reflect even slightly the effects of such a Spartan discipline? Many will thank or curse their genetics for one or the other, whilst others will point at their «shitty» metabolism («man, just breathing makes me fat!»). And some will foolishly believe they burned like a gazillion calories in that 15-minute WOD, and that they can get away with murder, just to throw everything away (and worse) in the communal, post-workout feast.

I have a couple of pet theories about this. First of all, the lean/skinny guy/girl who brags about eating whatever they want and never putting on gram are lying, as they tend to OVERESTIMATE what they eat, and believe me, the freaking laws of thermodynamics apply to them as to the rest of living organisms, so YES, if you consistently eat more than you need, you will eventually store that extra energy as fat. There is no way anyone can elude the merciless rule of energy balance. And conversely, the person struggling with their weight might not eat that little and may be UNDERESTIMATING their caloric intake (we all do, so do not feel bad about it!) There might be exceptions, OF COURSE (both naturally lean people and people with hormonal and metabolic dysfunctions do exist!).

But more importantly, and regarding movement: just look at the skinny/lean guy/girl and the way they move throughout the day (ever heard the words/phrases «fidgety», «live wire», «hyperactive» «that who cannot stand still if their life depended on it????»), I mean, some are just terribly active when they’re not doing sport (walking, cycling, taking the stairs, getting up, cooking, cleaning, picking up things, being irrepressibly expressive and gesticulating….) and, not surprisingly, I’m afraid that is going to OUTWEIGH (pardon the pun!) that 6 to 7 aerobics class at your neighborhood’s fitness center. So if you wanna see better results in shedding some unwanted fat and keeping that weight off, just get of your ass and move more! Also, understand that a day is only 24 hours long so, if that 10k run you’re reluctantly committing yourself to every single morning is leaving you knackered for the rest of the day, and you find yourself feelingmiserable and trudging through life, maybe you should pull back a bit. Or even considering something altogether different.

Again, just don’t call me superficial for giving certain importance to something some might label «shallow/trivial/banal/ frivolous/ worth of Instagram-obsessed dorks» (besides, it’s not «body types» that we’re discussing here! That is far more complex); I might be concerned about my own body, but I’m rarely concerned about anybody else’s. It’s the effect this may have on someone’s health (physical, mental, emotional, mood, self-confidence, wellbeing…) which interests me way more. I suggest you take your time and read this article, which incidentally deals with the same matter. «I move, therefore, I am.»