Physical inactivity is now recognized as one of the biggest health problems in the 21st century. It is up there with smoking and obesity. We all know it is better to take the stairs rather than the escalator, but how much does this actually help us lose weight?
Non-exercise activity thermogensis, or NEAT, is the energy we spend during the day essentially ‘figiditing’. These movements are not planned and spontaneous with no real purpose. Examples include tapping feet, leg shaking, standing and general pottering about. After all, the people who can’t sit still are generally the ones who are always thin!
But what if you are someone who goes to the gym 3-5 times a week. It shouldn’t matter if you sit down and are not as active for the rest of the day as you have already ‘burnt’ of your daily calories? Wrong. Amazingly, NEAT is the predominant component of energy expenditure and usually burns of more calories than are structure planned exercise. Even for those people who exercise regularly, they still burn more calories through all those unnecessary movements. Have a look at the calorie expenditure that is possible through NEAT.
NEAT is the predominant component of energy expenditure and usually burns of more calories than any structured planned exercise
So how do you increase your NEAT?
There are loads of ways to try and increase NEAT. Here are a few things you can try:
The table below highlightss how much NEAT can vary between different occupations. Now Imagine how much you can increase your calorie expenditure by making a few adaptations.
So remember, it is not enough to exercise and then sit around all day. Most of our calories are spent doing the smaller unplanned movements. It is the habits we form that will ultimately help us lose the most weight. Have a think about how you can put more NEAT into your day, good luck!