Let's talk about fitness habits! In 2012, I started wearing a fitbit to track my acitivy. I think y'all know I am a huge fan of Fitbit. That tiny little device has had a huge impact on my recovery from obesity and disordered behavior around food and body. The simple concept of 10,000 steps per day gives me a marker of what is considered “active” and has allowed me to set a healthy baseline of activity for me.
To become an active person, we need to average about 10k steps per day. At first, I found it difficult to meet the daily goal, but I continued to challenge myself to go further each day. I eventually made it to 10k and now rarely go under. Developing this habit means that I never have to muster up the energy to go to the gym when I'm exhausted or don't feel well. I exercise more vigorously several times per week by hiking or going on long walks, but for the most part I have my exercise built in to my daily life. Of course, I go over the 10k steps per week, and I push myself with that goal on a weekly basis. Sometimes I push myself more, other times less.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (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, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual's daily NEAT.
I have a few friends who have tried using fitbit and were quickly discouraged when failing to easily reach the daily step goal. The point of NEAT is to increase your daily steps in the non sports-like exercise, so things like walking to the post office or taking the stairs over the elevator. Most people will start off with an average daily step-count much lower than the recommended 10k.