NEAT or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
What is it and why is it so important?
When we look at weight loss, we look at four different components that we can manipulate to lose weight. Those are intentional exercise, thermogenic foods, basal metabolic rate, and non exercise activity thermogenesis.
The NEAT component is basically all movements that are not intended to be exercise but burn calories. These include and are not limited to walking to your car, taking the stairs at work, cleaning the house, taking out the garbage, walking to the mailbox, standing up from the couch, and playing with your dogs. NEAT is also chewing your food, fidgeting, adjusting your body to get comfortable, scratching, and typing.
So basically ALL movements done by the body unintentionally and/or not meant as to be exercise.
Movements like these surprisingly can help you burn more calories and help you reach your weight loss goals. You would be surprised how much energy you can burn and how much little things add up quickly. The more you move your body the more calories you will burn, the more weight you could potentially lose IF adhering to your nutrition AND exercise goals.
This is the reason why you will hear fitness experts telling you to park in the furthest parking spot, take the stairs at work, offer to run something down to the mailroom at work, ditch the remote for your TV and stand to change the channel. They understand that every movement counts for something and it is true.
Increasing your NEAT can be as simple as taking the dogs for an extra walk around the block. Play a little harder with your kids at the park. Got cleaning to do? Scrub the shit out of your toilet bowl. There are so many little things you can do to get moving a little more and get you on your way to more weight loss or fitness success.
NEAT is especially important to look at if you have a sedentary job. Think of how many hours you spend barely moving your body. You must be aware of this and try your best to make up for it during the rest of your day. People with sedentary jobs may need to look a lot more at intentionally exercising on top of increasing their NEAT.
DO NOT underestimate the POWER of movement. If you’re a beginner to exercising or thinking about improving your physique or losing weight, you may even want to just start with being conscious of how much you’re moving and try to run a few more little errands throughout the day or clean your house a little more even! What a double whammy that one would be!