Good news, cardio haters: you may be burning more calories than you think! And it’s all down to this little unknown acronym: NEAT, otherwise known as ‘Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis’.
Believe it or not, sweating it out on the spin bike or beasting through a heavy weights session aren’t the only ways you can burn extra body fat. Simple movements such as standing, walking, talking and even fidgeting help you shed extra weight. They may sound pretty irrelevant but, trust us, these everyday physical movements can have a huge impact on your metabolic rate, stimulating energy expenditure and helping to burn those extra calories.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS NEAT?
NEAT is the energy expenditure that we don’t usually think about. When you’re in the gym getting sweaty on the treadmill, you’re very aware that you’re exercising. However, everyday tasks such as standing up, walking to the office kitchen to make a cuppa and chatting to your work bestie about last night’s TV all use up energy too, meaning they help burn calories!
HOW DO I BENEFIT FROM NEAT?
It’s important to remember that we all benefit from NEAT in different ways. This depends on a variety of factors, from weight and height to age and body composition. Environmental factors also play a huge part, for example, someone who has a manual job will benefit from NEAT more than someone who has a sedentary job.
On average, NEAT can burn an extra 350 calories a day but you could burn up to 1000 additional calories per day – how you ask? Here’s how you can maximise your NEAT:
START TRACKING YOUR DAILY STEP COUNT
The recommended daily step count for an adult is 10,000 steps but, with so many of us chained to our desks or stuck behind the wheel, it can be tough to squeeze in even half of this. Using a fitness tracker is a great way to motivate you to get moving more throughout the day, whether that’s a lunchtime walk to the shops or heading over to a colleague’s desk rather than sending an email. Tracking your steps will allow you to set goals and encourage you to push that little bit harder.
GET ACTIVE IN THE OFFICE
Yes, it can be tricky if you work in an office where 8 hours of your day is spent sat at a desk, staring into the glow of a computer screen. But, a few simple changes could help you add a little more activity to your usual stationary day. Skip the lift and take the stairs. Stretch your legs every hour or so by heading to the kitchen to grab a glass of water or simply heading outside for a few minutes to get some air. You could also introduce standing meetings to your workplace, encouraging everyone to stand rather than sit. Not only will this help up your NEAT but it’ll keep everyone engaged too.
BE MORE HOUSE PROUD
Nope, we’re not taking a swipe at your home. We’re simply saying that housework is a great way to increase your NEAT, while keeping your home clean and tidy! Instead of just hoovering the living room, why not give the whole house a blitz? And, when you put your washing away, give your wardrobes a quick rearrange while you’re at it. Power through those pesky chores and you’ll benefit from a clean home and a calorie burn.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU RELAX
If a date with your sofa and a Netflix binge is your idea of relaxation then, we feel ya. But, changing the way you relax could help increase your NEAT. Activities such as yoga, gardening and swimming all promote relaxation while keeping you active. Now, we’re not saying you should switch your sofa date for 20 lengths down your local swimming baths but using some of your downtime to get active is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being.
As the festivities draw nearer, there’s no better time to up your NEAT. Most of us like to treat ourselves during the Christmas period, indulging in our favourite foods and socialising with friends (and rightly so!). So, increasing your NEAT could make all the difference, helping you stay on track, stay active and keep those extra calories off.
In need of more nutrition and training tips this festive season? Our blog’s the place to go. If you’re finding it hard to find the perfect gift for the fitness lover in your life, have a look at our Christmas gift guide.