Exercise NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

I only lately came across the term Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

NEAT is basically energy expended for everything you do throughout the day, whilst not exercising, eating or sleeping. This could include walking to work, taking the stairs, typing, standing up and gardening amongst other things. By moving more the energy burned through NEAT can make a significant difference if you are trying to lose fat.


Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

The more you move, the more energy you are going to expend

It’s common sense really, the more you move the more energy you are going to expend. However, studies have shown that NEAT is altered by changes in energy balance. If you go on a calorie restricted diet, whereby your energy balanced is changed and you are taking in less calories than you used to it can alter your NEAT. As your body actively tries to reduce your output your NEAT will be reduced, for example, you will subconsciously fidget less in order to save energy. Therefore to reiterate something I have said in previous blogs – calorie restrictive diets are not sustainable and often result in people gaining more weight than they lost.

Many people nowadays have activity trackers which have a step goal on them, some even vibrate and tell you to move if you have been sat down for too long. Most activity trackers have 10,000 steps per day, which is a great amount to aim for.

The more you move throughout the day, the more fat you will burn

I have a Garmin wearable, where the steps change according to how active you are. I particularly like this because it consistently challenges me to keep increasing my movement throughout the day.

If you are sedentary for long periods of time throughout the day, you reduce the efficiency of converting fat into energy. This is due to reduced levels of Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) whose role is critical in converting fat into energy. Therefore the more you move throughout the day, the more fat you will burn.

Increase your NEAT throughout the day

Cleaning and doing daily chores can add to your NEAT as well. I remember years ago going to a Weight Watchers meeting and the leader said you could gain points for exercise by doing housework. I completely disagreed at the time and still would never class it as exercise, however, it is definitely a way to increase your NEAT throughout the day. So the next time you are avoiding your chores (yes, we all do it) just think of the benefits over time.

My dad is almost 61 and he is in great shape and great health. He’s Italian and follows a healthy Mediterranean diet, however,lifel if you ever saw the amount of time he spent playing with his grandkids you would be amazed!

I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old nephew who I babysit from time to time and they both exhaust me! However, my dad is like a Duracell bunny and just seems to keep going without tiring himself out! Therefore, another way to increase your NEAT is to get playing with your kids (if you have them). If not, why not tap into your inner child, go to the park or a beach, take a ball or frisbee and just play.

Few things you can do to increase your NEAT

So, just a quick summary of a few things you can do to increase your NEAT:

  • Walk to work
  • Talk the stairs
  • Play more, with kids or friends/partner
  • Take walking breaks if you’re sat down too long at work
  • Try and get your steps in
  • Get your clean on and don’t put off your chores

So there it is, try and increase your NEAT to keep working towards your goals.

Keep it healthy!

Angela xx

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