What is NEAT?
NEAT, in the context of fitness and health, stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is how much energy you spend through daily activities and movements not including the energy spent on actual workout sessions. NEAT is made up from the calories burned during activities like walking, cleaning, gardening, fidgeting, and other everyday tasks we perform throughout the day. It emphasises the idea that small, regular movements throughout the day can contribute significantly to the overall energy/calories burned and our health.
Key Aspects of NEAT:
Everyday Activities: NEAT encourages people to incorporate physical movements into their daily routine. It recognises that not everyone has the time or mental energy for structured exercise but can still benefit from being active in their everyday lives.
Energy Spent: The focus is on increasing calories burned through non-exercise activities. By staying active throughout the day, we can burn calories, improve metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight.
Adaptability: Everyone’s energy expenditure can be different based on factors like occupation, lifestyle, and personal habits. We all have different circumstances and there will be different ways we can change our NEAT.
Benefits of NEAT:
Weight Management: Small lifestyle changes like opting for the stairs instead of the lift, walking during breaks, or standing while working can contribute to burning additional calories, which can encourage weight loss.
Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: Regular physical activity helps improve cardiovascular health. Doing activities that increase heart rate and circulation, such as brisk walking or household chores, can strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Improved Metabolism: By keeping the body in motion throughout the day, through walking, chores etc can help enhance metabolic rate, leading to more calories burned and better nutrient absorption.
Increased Productivity: Regular physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain, improves cognitive function, and enhances focus and creativity. Short activity breaks during work or study sessions can revitalise the mind and improve overall performance.
Sustainable Lifestyle: Unlike intense exercise routines that may feel overwhelming for some, NEAT offers a sustainable approach to staying active. By incorporating physical activities into our daily lives, it becomes a natural and enjoyable part of our routine, making it more likely to be maintained in the long run.
Incorporating NEAT into Your Life:
Be Mindful of Opportunities: Look for opportunities to be active throughout the day. Take breaks to stretch, walk or engage in light movements. Choose activities that you enjoy and can easily incorporate into your routine.
Active Transportation: opt for walking or cycling instead of driving short distances. If possible, use public transportation and get off a few stops earlier to add more walking to your commute.
Workplace Habits: Stand up and move around periodically, take the stairs instead of the lift, or hold walking meetings whenever possible. Consider using standing desks or stability balls to engage core muscles while working.
Household Chores: Embrace household tasks as opportunities for physical activity. Gardening, cleaning, vacuuming, or doing laundry can all contribute to NEAT and help you stay active.
NEAT reminds us that staying fit and healthy does not always require intense workouts or strict exercise regimens. By incorporating physical activity into our daily lives through NEAT, we can enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle without disrupting our routines. Whether it is taking the stairs, going for a walk, or simply staying active during daily tasks, small steps towards integrating NEAT into our lives can make a significant difference in our fitness, well-being, and long-term health.