How NEAT works

Neat = Non exercise activity thermogenesis.

If you’re sitting there scratching your head thinking what the hell did I just read, please continue!

Let’s keep this massive phrase to NEAT, a simplistic way of thinking about NEAT refers to how much energy we use in our every day tasks! Each activity we perform across a day requires us to use energy to perform this task.

This might look like hanging out your clothes on the clothesline, carrying your groceries inside, cooking dinner, looking around the shops for clothes, you get the idea.

Movement that is not typically structured like you would see with a gym class, going for a run, boxing e.t.c these have intent with burning energy and these exercises are typically labelled as ‘EAT’.

Exercise activity thermogenesis = structured exercise.

So why is NEAT so important?
Well, it actually constitutes around 15-30% of our daily energy expenditure (the higher for those that move more) There are 3 other variables (a blog post for another day?) that are weighted differently but NEAT is a really simple and often overlooked way to help you improve your health!

If you have goals of improving body composition, preventing aged related declines, reducing your risk of disease (cardiovascular, diabetes) and improving your quality of life this is an area you can shift your attention to do boost you towards achieving these goals!

You would have heard the saying of hitting 10,000 steps per day. That is a form of NEAT. Unstructured movement that expends energy can be measured through your everyday step counter in your phone or watch!

Here on some ways on how you can improve your NEAT across your day / week.

  • Try bike riding / walking instead of always driving (within reason)
  • Stand up more than you sit down! If you work from a seated position, try alternating with standing more often!
  • Track some metrics and try and beat it! This might look like tracking how many steps you do per day and adding 500 each day or each week to your average daily steps.
  • Choose the stairs! Look to push yourself and walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • Clean and cook while dancing to music!
  • Park further away – don’t always look for the parking spot closest to the shops!
  • Tidy up around the house

Basically, if you can walk or have the ability to move more whilst you are doing something else, try and make this a habit.

What strategies do you have in place to try and improve your movement when you aren’t exercising?

Reach out I would love to hear them!

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