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26 Aug 2020 8:07 AM | Maria Allshouse

Have a desire to add activity into your day that will lead to better health and wellbeing? The first step you can try is to incorporate NEAT (Non-Exercise Thermogenesis Activity) into your routine, when you are ready, to help burn extra calories. NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, taking the steps versus the elevators, or parking further away from the entrance of your favorite store.

One NEAT activity that I enjoy performing is walking. It is especially powerful because it's sustainable, safe, and accessible regardless of your fitness level or age. You don't need special equipment, and you can do it almost anywhere: on the treadmill, at the park, or what I like to call my happy place --- the trails.

When you’re ready to put a pep in your step, these tips may be helpful when you are ready to take your walk to the next level:

  • Pick up the pace. Try to mix up your typical routine by adding small intervals at a slightly faster pace. If it usually takes you 15 minutes to complete your routine, try to do it in 14 minutes. By making a conscious effort to pick up your pace, you’ll challenge yourself and elevate your heart rate at the same time.
  • Pump your arms. Did you know you can also get an upper body workout from walking? Pump your arms up and down as you walk to build stronger muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Use your core. Your core muscles help you maintain good posture and resist slouching. Engage your abdomen by tightening your stomach muscles and straightening your back while you walk.
  • Add some weight. There are several different ways to add weight to your walk. Try ankle or wrist weights, a backpack with weights, or a weighted vest. You can also walk with dumbbells for increased muscle definition in your arms.
  • Make it social. Invite a friend or family member to take a walk with you, or join a virtual walk group on social media. While you’re burning calories, you’re also building and nurturing these social bonds.

Don’t underestimate the power behind a good walk! Next time you go for a stroll, consider your goals and adjust your routine to optimize your walk.

Ask me about other ways to enhance your activity if you are looking for new ideas or to mix things up. For more tips, visit my blog at

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