For many of us trying to achieve fat loss or improving general health, increasing your NEAT is most certainly an area with which we can make a point of improving.
What does NEAT stand for?
NEAT stands for “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis” which is unplanned exercise we do in our day to day life. NEAT doesn’t include things such as a planned gym trip or playing a football match but does include things such as walking up stairs.
NEAT is notoriously underestimated when it comes to assessing energy expenditure. Generally, we assume we burn a lot of calories exercising and then fairly little the rest of the day, but this is not always the case. Many of us think just because we go to the gym three times per week that this has to be enough, but again this isn’t always the case.
The number of calories you can burn by staying as active as possible throughout the day can have a massive impact on your daily expenditure which in turn can have a big impact on your body and health overall.
10 Ways to Increase Your NEAT:
1. You could be taking the stairs instead of a lift (this is one of my biggest bug bares). It’s a privilege to be able to walk upstairs, not everyone can! Don’t waste time waiting for a lift stood still when you could be getting your body moving. The same applies to standing on an escalator instead of walking up it.
2. Why not ditch the car? You could be walking to the bus stop or all the way to work. Maybe take your bike to work where possible instead of instantly jumping in your car. For many of us, it would likely be quicker to do this ahead of jumping in the car, the car is simply the easy option. If taking the car is a must for you, an option could be to park further away from your destination which will therefore increase your steps.
3. Instead of getting a ready meal that you stick in the microwave, why not spend more time on your feet cooking a nutritious meal. Killing two birds with one stone increasing your NEAT and eating better food.
4. Whilst most of us wouldn’t see cleaning and tidying the house as an opportunity to exercise, this could be a big calorie burner we are missing out on. So next time you ask or hire someone else to tidy up or clean, it could be beneficial for you to do it.
5. Do you currently have a gardener or are you leaving your garden to rack and ruin? Why not spend some time pottering around the garden, cutting grass and plodding around making it look smart? Who knows how many calories you’ll burn!
6. Many of us now do our food shopping or clothes shopping online which admittedly is a real time saver. But if you have the time to do it why order it in? You could be getting valuable steps in going around the supermarket pushing you closer to that fat loss result you’re after.
7. Office work often involves drinking a lot of tea/coffee. Perhaps you are normally the person who has their cuppa brought to them? It might seem insignificant but, in the future, why not get up, stretch the legs and get your own therefore increasing your NEAT in the process. Small things matter!
8. Instead of taking your car through a drive through car wash, why not take 15 minutes out of the day to wash it at home? That’s 15 minutes of movement that you wouldn’t otherwise have had.
9. If you are a parent of young children, take your baby out for a walk or maybe play active games with them instead of spending time sitting down. Examples of this could be playing hide and seek (I’m a big fan), Play chase on all fours with your newly crawling baby or perhaps taking them to the local soft play. You never know you might even have a great time yourself!
10. Waiting for that kettle to boil? Why not do a few dynamic stretches, squats or a few push ups to fill the time? There are many moments in a day where most of us are simply waiting for something to be done. This could be an opportunity for you to do a little something and that little something is always better than nothing.
NEAT is generally an underappreciated factor when it comes to the amount of energy we use during the day.
Our body will try to defend its energy stores when we diet by reducing energy expenditure. One way it does this is by subconsciously making you move less.
There are lots of different ways to increase your activity levels. Finding ways which fit into your life will make adherence a lot easier, you simply have to make a point of doing them!