Why Working Out Isn’t Always The Answer To Feeling Healthy

Image of Ann Hackman Working out for "Why Working Out Isn’t Always The Answer To Feeling Healthy" Blog Post

Why Working Out Isn’t Always The Answer To Feeling Healthy

When was the last time you went for a nice walk?

Lately, I’ve been taking some extra time out of my schedule to go on walks with my husband after work, and let me tell you, they’ve been a game-changer.

Not just because I get to tell my husband all about my day and hear about his, but because it makes me feel good to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It makes me feel good moving my legs and embracing the ground beneath my feet. It makes me feel good when the sun casts its light onto my skin and warms my face.

All of that said, it got me thinking about the different types of exercise and movement that I go through during the week and how it impacts my overall health and wellness.

Which triggered the thought that most of us grew up with the notion that in order to “be healthy” we needed to workout for longer periods of time and put loads of stress on ourselves in order to see results.

Guess what, that’s not the case.

Actually, I’m here to tell you there’s a different way to feel healthy and it starts with these three different types of movement.

Let’s talk about them…


NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)

When we’re talking about exercise and movement, I like to start with the simple stuff and that’s NEAT. It stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, and it encompasses all the movements we do throughout the day.

Though these movements don’t fall under the category of “traditional exercise”, they are the true scale-movers when it comes to your health and wellness. Think about all the subtle and subconscious activity that you do throughout the day—it adds up!

It starts with the smallest of movements, like shaking our legs while sitting on the couch, to walking up and down the stairs with loads of laundry, everything we do requires energy. This energy burns calories and keeps the body lean even when we are not actively exercising.

Research even shows that using NEAT to move consistently throughout the day can help sustain LPL levels and help the body maintain its ability to burn fat. Simply put, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, playing with your dog, all of it is NEAT and the best part is that it keeps you healthy!

Check out where NEAT compared to normal walking and exercise Is a word missing?


What kind of impact does NEAT have on my body?

NEAT is a beautiful thing because it doesn’t ask a lot from us, just simply move. Through this movement, not only do we help reduce fat and improve our cardiovascular system, but it can also lower our cortisol (stress hormone) levels and boost immunity.

While there are plenty of different ways to activate NEAT and improve your personal health, there are a few small things I have found work well for me.

        • Extra steps when going up and down the stairs.

        • Walking around the yard with the family dog.

        • Alternate sitting and standing while working.

        • Going for a short walk down the street.

        • 10 minutes of gardening/yard work.



We do it every single day and yet, we forget how good it is for us!

Walking is a movement that comes naturally to the human body. Just look at how we were made by God and you can tell, we definitely have been set up to stroll. And the Mayo Clinic agrees, citing that regular walking can help lose body fat, lower blood sugar, increase energy, and improve stress levels.

Who doesn’t want that?!

While everyone is under the impression that we need to be running on a regular basis if we want to see a change in our health, walking for even 20 minutes a day can make a huge impact on how we feel.

It’s less about how you do it and more about just doing it. I think about Dr. Suess’s book Green Eggs & Ham. Sam eats them on the bus, in the rain, on a train.

You can walk anywhere—in your neighborhood, a park, parking lot, school track, yard, the mall, a museum, over a bridge, literally anywhere!

Here’s how I do it—I take multiple short walks throughout the day even if only for 5-10 minutes. I try to get in a 30-minute walk outside each evening with my hubby. If it’s raining I jump on my spin bike and pedal at a consistent easy pace for the time I would usually be walking.

Give it a try for yourself—after you finish work this week, head outside for a short walk down the street and see how you feel after. Your body will thank you! 



The thing about health and wellness is that research is constantly changing and as such, we adopt new practices to help maintain and improve that health. This requires that we constantly re-evaluate the status of exercise and what truly benefits the body the most—like the notion that “longer workouts are better”.

While we operated under this guise for a while, it’s clear that longer doesn’t equal better. Matter of fact, research suggests that shorter exercises—focused on metabolic conditioningcan help us burn calories more efficiently, improve metabolism, and build muscle mass.

What is metabolic conditioning?

Metabolic Conditioning is any exercise that is focused on making use of the immediate and intermediate energy pathways and must be done in a specific time and intensity to use these pathways. With metabolic conditioning, the body can burn fuel more effectively by using moderate-intensity to high-intensity interval sessions.

Essentially, it allows our body to use the most energy in the best way possible to fuel itself throughout the exercise or workout. The way I like to think about it is: work smarter, not longer or harder.

Each one of us is different and some have experience exercising and doing workouts, while others are completely new to the space, so here’s a workout that everyone can do whether you have gym equipment or not.


Making exercise and movement a regular part of life is easier than we think…

Achieving our best state of well-being is a constant journey of trying out new things and seeing what works for each of us. And though each of our bodies are different, they do respond in similar ways to the health practices I just talked about above.

NEAT, Walking, and Exercise are the three pillars of maintaining our health and wellness when it comes to activity. Each one has its own unique impact on our body and can deeply influence the way we feel physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I encourage you to spend some time over the next week evaluating the places in your life where you can add one of these three practices and see how it can change the way you approach your health.

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