Are you familiar with NEAT?
Are you using it to your maximum benefit?
Often, we think of our physical activity journeys in terms of formal exercise, but did you know that
people who have more NEAT in their lives burn more energy and have leaner body compositions?
NEAT is non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
It is the amount of calories you burn daily doing things other than sleeping, eating or formal exercise.
NEAT is highly variable person to person, but can make a huge difference in the amount of calories
burned in a day. There is a lot of variability person to person in this component of physical activity
and there are additional health benefits that go beyond calories burned or weight loss!
Let’s delve into this a bit more below.
What makes up total calories burned in a day?
Total energy expenditure (TEE) is how many calories we burn in a day.
Resting energy expenditure (REE) is also called basal metabolic rate (BMR). It is amount of calories
we burn at rest.
Thermic Effect of Meals (TEM) is the amount of calories we burn digesting our food.
Physical activity is made up of NEAT and formal exercise.
Total Energy Expenditure = Resting Energy Expenditure + Thermic Effect of Meals + Physical Activity
NEAT Formal exercise
As mentioned before, benefits of NEAT go beyond calories burned and weight loss. Let’s review
those and also ways to increase your NEAT activity.
Some benefits of increased levels of NEAT:
Increased levels of NEAT are associated with higher levels of a chemical called Orexin in the
brain/hypothalamus Low levels of Orexin are associated with obesity.
A reduced occurrence of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, insulin resistance/risk for
type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol) and even a reduced risk of cardiovascular events (heart
attack, stroke) as well as a lower risk of death.
Ways to increase NEAT:
Be sure to get up and move in between periods of being seated.
Data were from the United Kingdom (UK) Women’s Cohort Study with a total of
12,778 women showed sitting for ≥7 hours/day (versus <5 hours/day) was
associated with 30% increased all-cause mortality risk in the low fidgeting group.
Some ideas are to park further away at the store, take the stairs instead of the
elevator, make it a point to move any chance you get, or consider using a treadmill
desk while you work. Use an activity tracker to see how many steps you are getting.
Aim to increase from where you are starting and 10K a day is a great goal.
Instead of sitting while you take calls or work on your computer, consider standing.
You can use an activity tracker or your phone to set reminders to get up. & get a
standing desk. Consider getting a standing desk or work at your kitchen island or
prop your computer up on some books!
Giving our bodies the movement it needs, along with the proper nutrition, are some of the ways we
can improve our metabolic and heart health and as well as achieve our weight loss goals.
How do you plan to incorporate more NEAT in your life? We would love to hear. Be sure to share
this blog post with your friends and family looking to optimize their health and join my Facebook
group Radiant Living for more discussion!