The Importance of Non Exercise Activity

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean NO exercise activity, I am talking about non-exercise activity thermogenesis also known as N.E.A.T. 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis includes the calories expended outside of planned exercise, eating and sleeping. This includes tasks such as walking around the house, climbing stairs, fidgeting, standing, cleaning the house etc. All these daily activities help us burn additional calories throughout the day which in turn can help with your weight loss goals.

N.E.A.T is a larger contributor to total daily energy expenditure (total calories burned) than calories burned through exercise! Research suggests that people who move more throughout the day are more likely to reach or maintain weight-loss goals versus those who are sedentary throughout the day and vigorously move through one exercise session. In other words, you may go to the gym but if your N.E.A.T level is low you can actually still be classified as sedentary!

N.E.A.T has been shown in studies to be able to offset weight gain when subjects were given too many calories. In one study, when subjects consumed 1000 calories per day above their maintenance calorie needs, fat gain varied 10 fold between subjects. In other words, N.E.A.T can act to mitigate the additional calories.

Although due to changes in our lifestyle people these days are burning fewer calories on average than we used to. We have more desk jobs, more food delivery services, more public transport options and more apps such as netflix which encourages us to sit at home and binge watch a series or two (Helloooo Greys Anatomy fans!)  

Here are some tips to increase your N.E.A.T!

  • Consider walking more instead of using public transport
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Don’t insist on parking in the closest possible space to store entrance
  • Standing up and moving around at regular intervals if you work at a desk etc.
  • Have a daily step target
  • Play active games with your kids
  • After washing the dishes put one dish away at a time
  • When folding the clothes put one piece away at a time
  • Walk around the house between ad breaks or play an active game such as charades
  • Go for a post dinner family walk around the block
  • Make an effort to walk to the tap to get a glass of water throughout your day
  • Set an alarm to get up and walk around every 30 minutes while at work
  • Move your bin away from your desk so you need to move away from your desk regularly
  • Waiting for something to cook in the microwave? Do squats and lunges while you wait!

In conclusion, N.E.A.T is an often neglected form of burning calories. High levels of N.E.A.T could reduce weight gain during periods of a calorie surplus, help promote weight loss and could also serve as an important tool for weight loss maintenance!

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