The NEAT Way to Improve your Health
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
What if I told you that there was an easy way to burn calories and improve your health without going to the gym and working out to exhaustion? What if I told you that by simply moving your body throughout the day doing activities such as cooking, cleaning and even fidgeting, you can lower your risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular events? Most people think that the only way to burn calories and get healthy is through scheduled exercise sessions. But it’s not true! Although structured exercise is a good way to expend a lot of calories, there are additional ways to burn calories throughout the day that are not programmed sessions.
N.E.A.T., or non-exercise activity thermogenesis includes the calories expended outside of exercise, eating and sleeping. There are many N.E.A.T. activities that we already do but may not realize their caloric output effect. Simple tasks such as raking leaves, physical labor, climbing stairs and even standing help us expend additional calories. While it might not seem like a lot, it turns out that N.E.A.T. can have quite a substantial impact on our metabolic rates and calorie expenditures.
Research suggests that individuals who move throughout the day are more likely to reach or maintain weight-loss goals versus those who are sedentary throughout the day and vigorously move through one exercise session. In fact, even if you consistently work out every day, sitting for at least 13 hours a day and taking fewer than 4,000 steps per day can blunt the benefits of that exercise. But, most of us spend the majority of the day working at sedentary jobs, and with COVID-19 and working from home, we don’t even have the walk to/from the train station or to pick up lunch.
The more N.E.A.T. activities you engage in each day, the more calories you burn, which, in turn, helps you maintain or even lose weight, and improves your overall health. So how can you increase your N.E.A.T. during the work from home workday? Here are some ideas to integrate movement:
Stand instead of sit at your desk
Walk during phone meetings
Take breaks throughout the day to clean your home (and enjoy a cleaner home as well as improved health!)
Take the long way - instead of going directly to the kitchen or the bathroom – first take a trip up and down the stairs once or twice
Carry a basket at the store instead of pushing a cart
Drive past the rockstar parking spot to park a little farther away and walk
Take a quick walk after meals or during work breaks
During commercial breaks or in between episodes of your latest series, take a few trips up and down the stairs, do some squats, or hold plank until your program resumes.
Use an activity and break reminder app to incorporate more movement into your workday