For some, being asked to work from home may have caused a decrease in daily activity levels which in time, could be negatively impacting your weight management.
The steps that form part of your daily commute can account for a high percentage of your activity and therefore TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This is important to note as your daily step count has the potential to burn more calories than your exercise sessions.
So, if you’re still exercising but sat at your home desk all day, you may not be burning as many calories as you thought/hoped for.
As a result, we’ve decided to come up with some creative solutions to help you increase your daily step count.
We understand it’s tempting to go straight to your desk space and not move until lunch or dinner but we want to show you how you can still get in a decent amount of activity even when you’re faced with a busy work schedule.

Fitting in walking (steps) is one the most important activities you can do. The reason is that it largely contributes to your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) - this is a scientific term for any activity classed outside of traditional exercise. NEAT accounts for movements such as walking, fidgeting, standing up, sitting down, etc.
The reality is that activity wise; your NEAT has the potential to form the largest part of your daily energy - often more so than exercise itself (contrary to common belief)

For example, 10,000 steps can equate up to 400-500 calories burnt depending on your size and weight yet a 5k run might only expend up to 300 calories.
From this example, you can see that if you did a 5K run and no steps, you would actually be burning fewer calories than if you completed 10,000 steps throughout the day.

Due to the pandemic and working from home, people aren’t commuting as much and as a result, activity has reduced. A huge benefit of being in the office is that your step count will naturally track higher without you necessarily noticing it. Doing one training session (in most cases) won’t make up for the reduced calorie expenditure let alone if you’re not training and/or getting by on minimal steps.

A huge challenge we have found at TWPT is that clients are exercising but not doing the same levels of activity as pre-covid. This means that the overall calorie burn is less - potentially resulting in you having to consume less food/calories to restore energy balance. (goal dependant). On top of this, we’re also seeing an increase in neck and back issues alongside increased stress and tiredness levels as well as an overall decrease in exercise motivation due to the forced change in work-life.

However, the good news is that boasting a high step count will not only increase energy output throughout the day, but it has the potential to positively affect your bone and joint health as well as assist you with stress management and sleep quality.

We believe that the best way to target a high volume of steps is to chip away at them throughout the day as opposed to planning one big walk.

So how do you go about adding steps into your daily routine?

Here’s some of the solutions we’ve used at TWPT,

1. Try to walk around if youre on a voice call.
2. If you can get outside for your lunch break, even 20 minutes of walking can really help.
3. If you have the space, move your working area away from the kitchen or toilets so you will cover more area.
4. Invest in a step counter to keep track of your movements, these will often prompt you to move.
5. Sometimes if the work day is flat-out, my clients have had to commit to going out for walks before or after work, this is hard in the winter months but the health benefits are worth it.
6. Use a walk as an opportunity to catch up with a friend or relative.
7. If you have a treadmill, you could use this to up your walking whilst on calls, first thing in the morning, watching your favourite show or winding down.
8. If you have a short journey that you would drive, walk it instead.
9. Progression is key - commit to a steps target, choose a realistic starting point and look to improve on that overtime. For example, start with 5000 a day and then see if you can up a little every week.
10. Stick to a routine to develop new habits. If you plan for and adopt these actions frequently enough they will more than likely turn into new habits and you will find you get your steps in without even thinking about it.

We appreciate it will take a conscious effort to get the extra steps in (especially when busy and stuck to the desk all day as it's proven a big challenge for some of our clients) however, this can totally be overcome so long as you have a plan that caters for your lifestyle and that you have the willingness to apply the effort required.
Until commuting and office work resumes, we need to have a greater awareness of the activity we are doing. Resist the urge to rely solely on the 20min online HIIT session or run to tick the box for your days activity - Try and keep up with healthy levels of activity that are comparable to pre covid by implementing new movement habits.

It’s easy to put things off until the end of the pandemic but there’s a chance that working from home, in some way, may become the new norm.

The longer activity levels are lower, the harder it will be to undo the negative side effects such as weight gain, joint and muscular problems - so if possible, start now and have a think to try and create a plan on how to move forward. Use some of the tips from above and if you get stuck feel free to drop us a message.

We hope this blog has inspired you with some ideas on how to increase your NEAT/daily activity levels but if you’d like to find out anymore about optimising your health then please contact us to speak to a TWPT Personal Trainer.Click Here