One of my favorite topics is NEAT, Non Exercise, Activity Thermogenesis. Huh?? NEAT is the energy that we expend for things other than active sports exercise, sleeping, and eating. It includes things like gardening, fidgeting, walking the dog, and taking the stairs, plus much more. NEAT is often overlooked, but is important to our overall health and wellbeing.
Why NEAT matters
Weight Loss or Gain. NEAT can make the difference when you are trying to lose OR gain weight. Many of us track our calories through the day and we "bank" this against what we think we are burning each day. (psst, the calorie trackers are a guide, they are super accurate) A very sedentary, chill person does not burn as many NEAT calories and very fidgety or active person burns more, sometimes over 300 calories more just from fidgeting!
I heard about an athlete who just couldn't gain weight and as he complained about it to his nutritionist he was pacing back and forth, bouncing his legs while moving, waving his arms, and really he was never still! His nutritionist happened to notice this and realize they were not accounting for his NEAT movement and made some small changes to his diet, which helped him gain weight. The same is true if you are trying to lose weight, general movement and activity can tip the balance.
Your longevity could depend on it! Studies now show that your daily workout doesn't negate your sedentary life away. If your day is spent sitting or very still studies show that it impacts the markers for long-term health. Making daily movement, adding more NEAT, to you day can greatly reduce your risks for things like dementia, heart disease and diabetes (type 2). NEAT can help fight against the risks associated with sitting too much.
Other Benefits of NEAT
Regular movement throughout your day can help you brain health
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Better bone health
Regular movement can help reduce pain
NEAT can help reduce inflammation
Improve blood sugar
Can help with stress
Can help our mood
Ways to be NEAT
Take the stairs
Fidget, I know your mom said not to, but it's OK
Meet for a walk instead of sitting for coffee or even for a business meeting
Stand up and walk around every 20-30 minutes
Do yard work
Park farther away
Do your chores
Stretch throughout the day
Washes dishes by hand
Play outside: hike, play frisbee, play yard games
Go to the grocery store instead of using pickup or delivery
Step away from your phone for a little while and do something active
Be creative, whatever you do just have fun and wiggle a lot! You're mom will understand.
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