Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or planned exercise such as going to the gym or playing a sport.
Examples of NEAT
- Walking to work
- Even fidgeting!
NEAT activities can significantly contribute towards your daily energy expenditure without the need for planned recovery like HIIT requires. Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight it would be worth tracking your NEAT and making an effort to increase your daily calorie expenditure from NEAT.
A really easy way to track your NEAT is via a fitness tracker. I was dubious about trackers before I bought one but now that I have one I love it! Throughout my day I can briefly look at my watch screen and instantly see how many calories I have burnt during that day. I can then easily workout how much of that is NEAT by subtracting my workout calories (also tracked) from the total calories . You can set yourself calorie goals which are great for encouraging you to move more.
Fitness trackers also track steps so instead of focusing on calorie expenditure you can aim to increase your steps each day. Check out the rough guide below for your step targets:
|How active you are||Daily Step Average|
|Sedentary||<5,000 steps per day|
|Fairly active||5,000 – 9,999 steps per day|
|Active||10,000 – 12,500 steps per day|
|Very Active||>12,500 steps per day|
10 Simple steps to increase your NEAT
- Use stairs instead of lifts
- When driving somewhere park further away from your destination
- If you work in an office walk to a colleagues desk to ask a question instead of emailing them
- Stand for one minute of every hour (download an app to remind you)
- Use a stand up desk when working on your laptop
- During lunch breaks go for a short walk
- If you have a planned meeting with a colleague try walking and talking
- Volunteer to help friends, family, and neighbours with lifting or gardening
- Next time your favourite song comes on at home, have a little boogie!
- And my favourite, offer to run an errand for a loved one!
The best thing about number 10 is you not only get some calorie expenditure but you also get brownie points for popping to the shop for your partner. Win win 😉