Life Without Limits, Episode 3: Building a Physical Activity Routine That Works for You

Life Without Limits, Episode 3: Building a Physical Activity Routine That Works for You

Building physical activity into your life doesn’t have to mean weights, squats, and tracking reps and sets.

Did you know that NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) contributes more to your total calories burned per day than the structured exercise you might be doing for one hour per day?

One Drop coach Lindsay Vettleson joined us to talk about NEAT and how to build active moments into your day. She also chatted about formal exercise and how to build habits that last.

Some of her keys to success:

  • Pick one habit at a time
  • Start small
  • Make it obvious
  • Make it easy and enjoyable
  • Reward your progress

Show Notes and Full Transcript


Host: This is Life Without Limits, the One Drop Podcast that gives you the tools, inspiration and support to challenge your limits. We talk with experts across all areas of health to open up more possibilities for you. Lean on us, as you step outside your comfort zone, to work your way toward better overall health and Life Without Limits.

Kim Constantinesco: Welcome to Episode Three of Life Without Limits, the One Drop Podcast that supports you as you strive toward your health goals. I’m your host, Kim Constantinesco and today we have Lindsay Vettleson, who is a One Drop coach. She is an experienced certified diabetes care and education specialist, a registered dietician and a certified personal trainer. She’s passionate about holistic health management and helping people manage and reach and maintain their health goals. Lindsay, welcome to the show.

Lindsay Vettleson: Hi Kim. It’s great to be here today.

Kim Constantinesco: So before we start talking about building a physical activity routine that works with your lifestyle, we’d love to get to know you a little bit better. So did you always know you wanted to be involved in the health coaching space?

Lindsay Vettleson: No, not at all, which probably comes to a surprise to most people. So I wanted to educate people on how to be healthy. But what I thought that meant was telling people what to do and what they needed to eat and how they should be exercising. And that’s what I thought that meant to reach their goals. But fortunately I’ve met some brilliant mentors and had the opportunity to work with wonderful people and clients along the way that have taught me the importance and the ability to effect change. And I’m doing this now by empowering people to take charge of their lifestyle choices.

Kim Constantinesco: You learned that it’s so much more about behavior change and creating these health habits versus just educating people it sounds like.

Lindsay Vettleson: Exactly. My train of thought was, I really initially wanted to be a dietician, and that’s what my undergrad was for. And I thought, I need to just go out there and tell people what they need to eat and how a healthy plate should be. But it really is focusing on behavior change and empowering people to know that they are in charge of making their own choices and knowing that they can make these changes and in a great and powerful way.

Kim Constantinesco: Well, and you’ve influenced so many lives over the course of your career, before One Drop and now here at One Drop. So what do you enjoy most about working with people in the One Drop community?

Lindsay Vettleson: So these folks come from all walks of life. A lot of them will message me their stories and personal struggles and even their accomplishments of things that they have overcome and even their fears. So I really get to partner with each person to unveil their strengths and even their potential. So this really helps to maximize their well being so that they can live just a long and happy and healthy life. And that’s the most rewarding thing that is part of my job and what I love.

Kim Constantinesco: Amazing. And so Lindsay, we’ve just flipped the calendar on a year that was especially difficult for so many reasons, and times really do continue to be challenging. So normally we enter a new year, and we might have a lot of motivation to tackle those health goals. But as we enter 2021, the motivation and frankly the energy to jump start a new goal might not be there due to stress and challenges as it relates to COVID. So Lindsay, what would you tell people who are finding it challenging to start or build health habits right now?

Lindsay Vettleson: And Kim, you completely nailed that on the head. Yes, this past year has been extremely challenging in so many ways. But when we’re thinking about the new year and how we can start and build healthy habits, it really takes consistent practice over a period of time. And the key to creating a habit is finding something that is achievable and doable. And a good way, a good thing to do to practice this is by linking a new habit to something that you are already doing on a daily basis.

For instance, is many of us have our morning coffee. Or obviously we are brushing our teeth every morning. So while you’re waiting for your morning coffee to brew and if one of your goals is to be more active, you could just maybe do a few body weight squats while you’re waiting for that coffee to brew in the morning. Just something that you can just tag together. It’s, okay, I have this routine. I should maybe try to do a new habit along with it. So that’s an easy way of starting to build a new healthy habit right off the new year.

Kim Constantinesco: Right, incorporating it into the things that you already do. I love it. So because of your background as a certified personal trainer, I want to talk specifically about physical activity. So many people assume that formal exercise, meaning walking on a treadmill or lifting weights or riding a bike, is the secret sauce to fitness. But that’s really not the case. Can you explain more about that?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yeah, I would definitely like to talk a little bit more about that. So I think we all know that there are several health related benefits when we go for a run or we hop on our bike, go for a stroll outside or go for a swim or even lift some weights. I mean, we all are very well aware of that. But what about all the other calories that can be burned outside of these structured exercises? And this is actually referred to as NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

And it actually contributes more to your total calories burned per day than that structured exercise that you might be doing for one hour per day. So I do want to give an idea to what some examples of NEAT would look like and how I actually incorporate that into my day, so that you know how easy it is to get this into a routine on a day-to-day basis.

So to start the day, while I’m brushing my teeth, since we’re in that, okay, every day we brush our teeth in the morning. I dance in the mirror, while looking in the mirror. So that’s burning some extra calories, and most of us would just stand while we brush our teeth. But dancing a little bit burns some extra calories. And I don’t do this while my older daughter is at home because she would be mortified {laughs}. So I only do this when she’s not around.

But other things that I do to get more NEAT into my daily routine is, I’ve moved my garbage can that would typically be under my work desk to a different room in my house because I work remotely. I work at home. And that way I have to take more steps to just simply throw away something in my trashcan. It’s up the stairs and down the hall. So it’s a few extra steps more that I take in my day. And I also have a sit to stand desk at my work station. I stand for an hour while I work, and then I sit for an hour. And then I stand, and then I sit. So I rotate and I alternate my sitting and standing throughout the day. And it definitely burns more calories, and that makes a difference, an impact.

Kim Constantinesco: Well, and it makes a difference on your posture throughout the day too I’m sure.

Lindsay Vettleson: Yes, and NEAT helps boost our metabolism over time, and it can expend significant energy and calories throughout the day. And getting in more NEAT on a daily basis, it reduces your risk for cardiovascular events, and it helps with weight loss. And it can even improve blood sugars.

Kim Constantinesco: Interesting. Can you talk a little bit more about how it impacts blood sugar?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yes, so when we think about our body being sedentary and sitting all day, we aren’t using a whole lot of energy. So our glucose is not being well utilized. So when we are incorporating more of these NEAT activities, then we can utilize that glucose or that sugar a little bit more efficiently and effectively. And so then that can help improve our blood sugars over time. So just – it’s just little things that we can do throughout a day that can really have an impact on our health.

Kim Constantinesco: That makes a lot of sense, especially because we all have 24 hours in a day, and even if you dedicate specific time to working out in a formal sense, whether that is walking or lifting some weights, you’re only doing that for an hour a day maybe or 90 minutes or less. Maybe it’s 30 minutes. So this concept of NEAT, which really collects the energy you’re burning throughout the entire day, that makes a lot of sense. And I want to sort of flip the table and look at the other side of NEAT and look at that more formal exercise piece. Can you give us some strategies around building formal exercise into your routine?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yes. Oh, yeah, I can definitely talk about that. So whether you’re just starting new at the gym, which is fairly common at the beginning of the new year, or for those that are working out at home because of the COVID situation, it’s best to be sure to set realistic goals for yourself. Because doing too much in the beginning leads to burnout, which ultimately leads to quitting the exercise altogether.

For instance, start with a few minutes on the elliptical machine. If it’s four minutes that you start with, that’s great. Because you can slowly increase the time or the intensity every week. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you say, okay, I’m going to do 30 minutes, 5 days a week, and then that’s something that you can’t succeed at. And then you’ll give up. So set yourself up to hit a goal that you can realistically reach.

And for those that have trouble fitting exercise into their schedule, because time is a factor, it’s best to consider your workout time like an appointment or a meeting on your calendar. So you wouldn’t skip an appointment that’s on your agenda. So treat your scheduled exercise time like you would treat any other important meeting. So schedule that into your calendar. Put it in your agenda book, whatever that is that you have, and consider it as important as any other meeting or appointment that you would have.

Kim Constantinesco: Love it.

Lindsay Vettleson: Yeah, there’s so many little tactics that you can try. So another thing you could try that many people like to do is track your workout and monitor your progress. Because that really can drive your inner motivation. So by tracking your progress, then you can find the desire in yourself to constantly improve.

So if you start working out and you notice that, okay, maybe my walking speed on a treadmill is at three miles per hour and you’re tracking that in your app. And then over maybe a month’s period of time you notice, okay, I’ve increased it. Now I’m at three point five. Well, you can see – you can visually see your progress, and that’s a huge motivator. And that will help you continue on with your exercising. So there is many different things that you can to help you succeed and create habits within your exercise routine.

Kim Constantinesco: And Lindsay, I know you’re a very active person in your personal life. And I’m curious about some of your habits, especially because you’re living in North Dakota, where especially this time of year, it’s very dark and winter is very long and cold. So how do you personally stay motivated, and what kind of habits do you incorporate in your routine?

Lindsay Vettleson: So what really motivates me is working out with other people. I attend group classes all throughout the week. Because there’s something about the connection, exercising with other people, that really gets me pumped up. And so I’m fortunate enough that the gyms here are open. I know in other states and other places they may not be. But that has always been my go to is, is the gym, the yoga studio because that’s my social network.

And for me it’s working out right away in the morning. That 5:00 a.m. class, because nothing else is getting in the way at that time, there’s going to be no meeting. No kid’s activities, nothing’s standing in the way. And once that workout is done, I’m good to go for the day. So I think it’s a matter of finding the best fit for you. Obviously there’s those people that they’re night owls. The morning time isn’t the best time for them. So then they’d really have to look at their schedule and figure out what’s going to work for them.

But for others it could be setting out their exercise gear the night before to make sure it’s easier for them to get moving in the morning. Or your alarm clock in the morning maybe needs to be your favorite workout song because that’s what’s going to get you going for the morning. So it’s finding what really is going to get you motivated and rocking and rolling. That’s what I say.

Kim Constantinesco: And just so we’re all clear, what are the recommended guidelines for physical activity to maintain good health?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yeah, it’s a good question. So according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the recommendation for adults include at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. Which also includes a minimum of two days a week of strength training exercise. And then adults should be moving more and sitting less throughout the day. So essentially the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say, okay, there should be some activity versus none. So less sedentary time, less sitting and more moving during the day.

So that’s where that NEAT, that Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis comes into play is, more movement throughout the day is going to be very beneficial. If you can’t get in that structured exercise, it’s okay, but maybe get up off your seat and just move and do things throughout the house. And those other types of NEAT activities could be something like shoveling your driveway if there’s snow, which we’re coming up on that winter season, especially here in North Dakota. Or maybe cleaning your house, dusting, vacuuming, washing the floors, that’s an option for some NEAT activity. It could be you’re on the phone, instead of sitting in your chair, pace around your house. Or play with your kids. They’re extremely active, or grandkids. So get on the floor. Get outside. Grab a ball. Play with your kids. That’s some NEAT activity. So there’s easy ways to get that in throughout your day.

Kim Constantinesco: And what if you’re someone who gets around a little bit differently? So maybe you use a can or a wheelchair in your daily life. Can you offer some strategies around that?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yeah, of course. For those folks who would benefit from doing physical activity seated, there are options such as chair yoga or using resistance bands for strength training or doing balance exercises using a chair or a walker, if that’s their mode of transportation. So there are ways that, for those that get around a little bit differently, they can get in physical activity also.

Kim Constantinesco: Really good advice. And Lindsay, physical activity, it can kind of come and go in our life based on schedules, illness, injury. And a lot of times people tend to feel like they’re a failure or they’re doing the wrong thing if they miss a day of physical activity or if they miss a week or a month. Can you talk a little bit about how to recover from missed time related to physical activity?

Lindsay Vettleson: Yeah, of course. I think the most important thing is to obviously listen to your body. It will tell you for sure if you’re ready to come back to that point. Because you’re not going to jump right back into an activity if you are recovering from an injury or have been off for a period of time. So it’s a matter of slowly getting back into it. And I know I had talked about that the recommendation for adults is getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intense activity per week. And I know that 150 minutes sometimes is a scary number for some people.

But when we break that down, we’re talking 30 minutes, 5 days a week. And break that down further, we can say, okay, that’s 10 minutes, 3 times a day. So that is a little bit more feasible for the average person. So even if it’s after every meal we can get out and do a ten minute walk, you are going to reach your goal of what the recommended physical activity is per week. So get those goals to be realistic and doable for you, and then you can increase the intensity and increase the length for what you need at an appropriate time.

Kim Constantinesco: Great. And what is one thing maybe you wish you knew when you were first starting your own fitness regime? So a piece of advice that you might give to your younger self as it relates to physical activity and incorporating physical activity into your daily life.

Lindsay Vettleson: I would definitely say, find something you enjoy. It doesn’t seem like exercise if you find an activity that puts a smile on your face. If you think that you need to run in order to be healthy and you don’t like running, it’s not going to last. You will not continue with that exercise. But if you enjoy walking your dog or you like to ride bike or you enjoy swimming, continue with that. Because that is something that you will enjoy doing, and more than likely you will stick with that. So it’s really important to find an activity that warms your heart and really just makes you feel happy, and I truly believe that.

Kim Constantinesco: Well said. Thanks so much for coming on the show Lindsay. It was a pleasure to have you on.

Lindsay Vettleson: Thanks for having me Kim. It was great being here today. I love talking about this topic. I’m obviously very passionate it and appreciate you having me on here.

Kim Constantinesco: Keep it here for more episodes of Life Without Limits. We’re in this together.

Host: Thank you for listening to Life Without Limits. If you liked this episode, tell a friend. We’re here to help you take back your time, power in life, so you can live to your fullest potential.

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Kim Constantinesco
Jan 11, 2021

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