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NEAT Exercise – What is it and why is it great?

It’s no secret a well-structured and consistent exercise regime combined with a healthy diet can help us look and feel good.

But did you know you don’t have to push yourself to extreme lengths in the gym each day or eat foods with no flavours to achieve these goals?

That’s where Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT) comes into play. 

We are sure you have heard “NEAT exercise” before – whether through people at your gym or your trainer. It’s a weird term that can have a big impact on helping you towards your goals.

NEAT exercise has nothing to do with cleaning up the gym either, it’s all to do with getting more active throughout the day. Whether you walk the dog or work it on a dance floor, NEAT can refer to a lot of things you probably do already.

WHAT IS NEAT?

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is just a fancy way of describing all the movement you do outside of exercise.

If it burns ANY calories, it counts as part of your NEAT.

Taking the bins, pacing while on the phone, cleaning the house, or dancing in the shower as all examples of NEAT.

Your NEAT is one of four factors that all add up to the total calories you burn in a day.

The other factors include your basal metabolic rate, physical activity, and the calories you burn from chewing & digesting food.

Structured exercise is what we tend to focus on when it comes to weight loss, but we cannot ignore the importance of NEAT. It sounds silly, but your NEAT activity can have a huge impact on your weight loss efforts.

WHY IS NEAT IMPORTANT?

NEAT exercise is very important as it can account for a significant portion of your total energy expenditure – the number of calories you burn in a day.

In addition, if you are sedentary and therefore have lower NEAT levels, you’re at a higher risk of obesity and other long-term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Being sedentary is directly associated with poorer long-term health regardless of weight. This means even if you are not considered to be overweight if your NEAT is low, you are still at increased risk.

There are various ways you can increase your activity levels. Finding ways which fit into your life will make adherence a lot easier!

SIMPLE TIPS FOR INCREASING NEAT:

  1. WALK MORE
    This one seems very obvious but if you can walk somewhere then walk! Or cycle.

  2. PARK FURTHER AWAY
    We always tend to try and find the parking spot closest to the supermarket or office. Changing this up so that you park further away can help you get your step count up and may even help you arrive at the office in a better mood or make a quick list in your head for your supermarket shop.

  3. AN ACTIVE COMMUTE
    Can you cycle or walk to work? Or, can you get off the bus stop early and get in some extra steps on your way? Make this active commute part of your everyday travel and it will soon become a way of life.

  4. GET MOVING ON YOUR BREAKS
    It is hard to get away from the fact that most of us have quite sedentary jobs. Instead of sitting at your desk for lunch, why not take a 10 minute walk beforehand or walk on your coffee break?

    You’ll often find your productivity, creativity and alertness is also heightened after some fresh air and a good stretch of the legs.

  5. GET A WEARABLE FITNESS TRACKER
    Tracking your step count means you can be accountable to how active (or inactive you are being). You may think you are quite an active person, but once you start measuring this you realise you are far less active than you thought.

    Modern fitness trackers, such as smartwatches and phone apps can play a major role in our physical activity, with new research finding that technology leads to an average increase of almost 2000 daily steps!

  6. TAKE THE STAIRS
    This may seem like a small, insignificant change but doing it at every opportunity will make a difference.

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