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What is N.E.A.T. and how can it help you be healthier?

Explore N.E.A.T. (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) for health enhancement through simple daily movements.

Person walking up stairs

Don’t worry we’re not going to talk about being more organized. In the field of exercise when we talk about N.E.A.T., we mean Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. That’s a fancy way of saying the creation of heat through movement that is not exercise.

We all know that weight management is an important part of healthy living and the number of calories we burn during a day is part of the weight management equation. A calorie is a unit of heat. Anytime we move or complete any type of physical activity we create heat. The amount of heat we produce results in a certain number of calories burned.

We don’t have the equipment to measure every single calorie that we burn throughout the day. Instead, we make estimates based on the activity and its associated intensity that we are completing.

Tracking calories burned throughout the day is not what we’re going to talk about here either though. We just want to talk about moving more than we currently are.

N.E.A.T. includes everything from working in your garden to walking through the grocery store to every little fidgeting movement that we do throughout the day. Every little bit of movement takes energy and creates a little bit of heat.

One of the goals with exercise is to burn calories, but what if we didn’t have to spend so much time in the gym to burn the same number of calories in a day? One way to do this is to move more.

Here are some ideas to increase N.E.A.T.:

  1. Walk as often as possible: Get up and take a trip around the house or office at least once every hour.
  2. Park further away from your destination: The further away you park, the more you move to get to where you’re going.
  3. Wash your dishes by hand: If you only have a few dishes, try washing them by hand. It might not take much effort to stand up and move your arms and hands to clean your dishes, but it does take more effort than loading the dishwasher.
  4. Hang your clothes to dry: This takes just a little bit more effort than throwing the clothes in the dryer, but that means you’re moving more.
  5. Walk while you talk on the phone: Most of us don’t have cords attached to our phones anymore and this gives us the freedom to walk around while talking instead of just standing in one place.

You can also think of a few was to increase N.E.A.T on your own. No one knows what your schedule is like more than you. Think about your day and where you can add more movement into things you are already doing.

Research has shown that a physically active person burns more calories from N.E.A.T. than from exercising every day. Up to 30% of our daily total calorie expenditure can come from physical activity and typically about two-thirds of that can come from Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

So the moral of the story is all it takes is a little bit more movement each day to create more heat and you can make a big difference to your health.

Want help moving more? Let us help you by putting together a personalized exercise plan to help you keep improving and reach your goals.

Focus areas include cardio, strength and resistance, balance, mobility, staying active throughout your day, advice on eating habits, and more. Click below to book an exercise prescription appointment.

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