How’s your NEAT?
The acronym NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis… none the wiser? In basic terms this translates into all the energy (metabolic rate and calorie expenditure) we use just getting on with our everyday activities, not including sleeping, eating, or planned exercise. NEAT actually makes up a considerable chunk of our total calorie expenditure and the more you move around the more you use. Some studies suggest NEAT may play a bigger role in weight maintenance than formal exercise does and highlight the importance of getting out of the chair and walking as much as possible. With average NEAT ranges between 15-50% of total caloric expenditure in a day there appears to be vast scope for improvement for many of us. Just being upright as opposed to lying down can double your NEAT. Manual labourers and outdoor workers can spend up to 2000 more calories a day just at work..that’s a lot of weight loss!
So what are the key NEAT determinants?
- Environmental factors – modern day conveniences that do all our work for us (think washing machines, cars, dishwashers)
- Internal factors- the more we eat (and I’m talking good nutrient dense foods here) the more energy available for NEAT..so restricting calories slows NEAT down
Simple ways to add some NEAT into your everyday life –
Get up and move around every hour (stretch, a few jogs on the spot, a little walk)
Take the Stairs (not the escalator or lift)
House work (sorry! Had to put that one in)…oh and put some effort in!
Move your legs and ankles while sitting
Use a fit ball at the desk instead of a chair
Play with the kids
Wear little weights around the house…(not when you go out unless you like being related to the ‘Lets Get Physical’ craze with Olivia Newton John!!)
Stand whenever you can
Dance around the house..(now you can pretend to be Olivia!!)
Renovate the house
Even chewing gum raises NEAT (just make sure it has no artificial ingredients)
The secret is to accumulate lots of small trivial bouts of extra activity during the day which all adds up to a substantial increase in energy expenditure. Just think you could burn quite a few hundred extra calories a day just by keeping busy and doing things with enthusiasm!!!!