What is NEAT?
Did you know that what we do when we’re not exercising or sleeping is just as important as what we do when we are? That’s called NEAT.
NEAT – or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – describes the energy we expend when we go about our daily business, and not exercising. For example, this could be working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and even fidgeting. On a basic level, this means we can burn a lot of calories without even stepping foot into a gym.
Is NEAT Equal for Everyone?
NEAT levels vary from person to person. Individual biological factors such as weight and gender, can create significant differences for everyone. Essentially, the larger your body is, the more energy it takes to move. Studies have shown that lean people stand, walk and fidget a lot more during the day, resulting in more calories burned.
Environmental factors can also make a difference. This includes culture, wealth, and job, etc, which have big impacts on the amount of NEAT a person is doing. For example, those working manual labour have a higher NEAT than those who work in an office all day. It’s even possible that those people with greater wealth will generally have a lower NEAT than those with less wealth. After all, you don’t see the Real Housewives of anywhere doing lots of activity when they have personal drivers and chefs, and there are lots of dinners to attend and mimosas to drink!
Typically, a healthy individual can burn around 330 calories a day using just NEAT, but it’s possible to burn 700-1000 calories a day by further increasing your NEAT.
How to Improve NEAT?
There are plenty of ways to improve your NEAT and burn more calories, and it’s easier than you think. If you work in an office, why not stand at your desk if you can. Or if you can’t, why not go for a quick walk every hour or so just to stretch those legs. If you normally take an elevator up to the office every day, why not consider taking the stairs instead?
Outside of work, if you have to pop to the shop and it’s not too far away, try walking instead of driving your car. At the supermarket, carry a basket instead of pushing a trolley. Waiting in any queue, find small ways to move like tapping your foot, or bobbing your head. There are many ways to increase your NEAT and they can be simple to add to your everyday life.
NEAT is a great for burning calories without even really thinking about it. Yes, working out in the gym is a surefire way to burn calories and keep fit. But half an hour in the gym followed by a whole day sitting down in an office chair is not going to do you much good. And getting your NEAT in is a simple and effective way of keeping those calories burning throughout the day, and requires very little effort.
So wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, do a little extra to keep your body active when you’re not exercising, and you will notice a huge difference!