A little while ago, I was chatting with Dr. Mary Louise Adams, who teaches at the School of Physical and Health Education at Queen's University. She reminded me that real healthy living is more than stuff like monitoring your BMI, measuring your food, tracking how many minutes each week you spend exercising, checking your heart rate and calculating how many steps you took today. "It’s not that these are not important," she said. "But if you look at 19th century magazines or periodicals, for instance, they were concerned about health too, but one of their biggest criteriea for defining whether someone was healthy was whether then had been outside, breathing fresh air. Going to the gym doesn’t actually give you that part of being healthy." Hmm . . . true. "What do we lose when we end up spending a lot of time on machines at the gym? I mean - I also do this - but you become very focused on the numbers on the machines. Is the treadmill going fast enough? Is it going faster than it was last time? Can we just go jogging or for a walk without thinking about our heart rate or a particular number our pedometer, how many steps we’ve taken?" And then she said something that blew my mind: "What about just staying outside as long as the sun is up?" That is crazy, I thought. Outside? All day? I mean, I live in Hamilton. Hamilton. What the heck am i going to do outside all day in Hamilton, I thought. "It's just a different way of thinking about what our bodies can do," she explained. Yes. Extremely different. What would I do if I had to spend the whole day outside? Well, I'd probably start by walking down to the cafe, then doing some window shopping, then walking down to the park . . . Wait, all of this actually sounds quite pleasant! And I'd be getting exercise without even knowing it. All day might be a bit of a stretch (at first), but I'm going to see how much time I can spend outside this weekend, enjoying the city and getting some non-workout exercise. James A. Levine, MD, PhD, has another name for non-workout exercise. He calls it NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) and in his book, Move a Little, Lose a Lot: New NEAT science reveals how to be thinner, happier and smarter, he explains how we can burn calories without even knowing it by making small changes every day to the way we move. If you'd like to WIN a copy of Move a Little, Lose a Lot, just Subscribe To This Blog and post a reply telling us about your favourite non-workout way to get exercise without even really realizing it. You have until Saturday May 16 to let us know. I'll annouce the winner here on Sunday May 17.