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Passive Exercise

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

“PASSIVE WORKOUTS??!! That’s my favorite kind! You mean the type where I sit at my desk and do butt clenches right?”

Not quite.

The importance of exercising and its numerous benefits have been well-documented and hopefully you are on board. These go past just burning calories, but also entail increasing body awareness, bone density, strength of course, and the list goes on and on. But burning calories is always the big one for most people. It is usually broken down into either exercising more, or eating less. But what if there were another option?

You burn calories 4 main ways. Exercise is the most obvious one. Number two is via your basal metabolic rate, which is just continuing to live and breathe...hopefully you’re doing that. The third, fairly minimal factor, is the thermic effect of food, which is basically just the energy required to break down the food you eat due to the increase in your metabolism (no this doesn’t mean eat more). So what’s the fourth?

Everything else you do in the day! You walk to your car, to the office, get up, sit down, dance alone in the shower, all these things require energy, and in turn, burn calories. Most people are moving much less than pre-COVID times just due the fact that no one’s going anywhere. As much as this may seem minimal, it makes a difference. Walk from apartment to metro, from metro to office, office to lunch, back from lunch, to a meeting, another meeting, to metro, to home. This stuff adds up and you’re likely now looking more like: walk from bed to bathroom, back to bed, to the kitchen, to the living room, to couch, to bed, to living room, to kitchen.

Get the point?


The term “exercise” here is used loosely as this is really talking about the daily activity you can do without breaking a sweat, but can have a positive long term effect. Taking a 20-minute walk one time won’t do anything for you in terms of losing weight. Taking one 20-minute walk, 6 days a week, every week for 3 months, can. Look at the long game here, not just the immediate effect.

So what’s the message? Just try and move more. Simple example is go for a walk when it’s nice outside. Buy a standing desk for your home so that you can divide the time between sitting and standing to help posture. Don’t want to buy one? Stack some books on top of one another and make one. Take a call while walking around the apartment instead of slumped on the couch.

As small and insignificant as these things may seem, they truly can add up to make a difference. And you’ll feel better! You might be feeling more stiff, tight, and overall just a little more tired ever since you’ve been at home much more. Even if you’ve been working out 10 days a week, this can still apply to you.


Again, the simple message here is just to get you to move more, but not specifically by working out. Yes, still do your exercise, but don’t dismiss the importance of the movement you once took for granted. The goal is simply to keep yourself from sitting on your booty for too long!


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