What is N.E.A.T.?
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which refers to the calories burned in your day to day activity (things that you don’t even think about). Some examples of NEAT include cooking, cleaning, shopping, standing at your desk, fidgeting, or gardening. The calories burned through NEAT can make a significant impact on both your health overall and your weight loss goals. Believe it or not, the calories we burn through non-exercise movement make up a larger percentage of our daily calorie expenditure than the calories we burn through planned exercise. One hour of exercise is equivalent to 4% of our day whereas NEAT is over 50% of our day.
Increasing your NEAT results in decreased risk of metabolic syndrome (a group of medical conditions that put you at an increased risk for heart disease: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and triglycerides), cardiovascular events, and even mortality from any cause.
The number of calories burned through NEAT vary up to 2000 calories per day when comparing different people! Both environmental and biological factors contribute to this, as well as differences in occupation and leisure activities. While you might not have control of the biological factors you definitely have control of your environmental factors. These are some great ways to incorporate NEAT into your every day to move you to the “more calories” side of burning:
- Put on your favorite songs and have a dance party
- Park farther away from the store or office
- Cook your meals instead of eating out
- Pick at least one daily chore to do around your house
- Get a standing desk
- Go on walks throughout the day
- Take the stairs
- Play with your kids/grandkids/pets