NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is all the activity you do throughout the day that is not related to sleep, eating, or exercise. NEAT is everything from how much/how often you stand/walk throughout the day, to how much you fidget or move when you are “resting.” This is an important factor to take into account when you’re looking at how much food you should be eating, no matter what your goals may be, because all of the extra activity you do factors into how much energy you use throughout the day. The more activity you do during the day, the more you use, the more you need to replenish.
NEAT is also a great litmus test to determine whether or not you are eating enough to support your goals. If you are doing high intensity exercise for an hour plus a day, but then the rest of the day you’re sitting on your butt, and when you go to the supermarket to go food shopping you get tired just from walking from your car to the storefront, you may not be eating enough. Conversely, if you start eating more and you start to have more energy throughout the day, feel like you could park farther away (I just love the grocery store analogy), and notice yourself wanting to stand more throughout the day, that’s probably a great identifier that you are starting to fuel your body properly.
No matter where you’re starting, or what your goals are, NEAT is a really simple way to keep your body active and engaged throughout the day. If you have a low-NEAT job, a great way to up your NEAT is by aiming to get 8-10k steps every day. Not sure how many steps you normally get? If you have an iPhone, your phone can keep track on the Health App (automatically installed into your phone) for you, you just have to keep your phone with you at most times throughout the day. I don’t recommend buying things often, but investing in a pedometer is a great way to keep you on track and walking around every day. By ensuring you’re hitting that step goal every day, you are ensuring that you are not sitting for the entire day, which will boost your NEAT, and therefore keep your body utilizing the fuel you put into it. This is a very rudimentary way to put it, but you want to keep moving to keep utilizing your food as fuel instead of storing it away.
Here are a couple of ways to get those steps in throughout the day:
Set a timer- Every 30 - 45min, get up and walk around for 5 min. Take a lap around the building, or better yet- get outside and walk for a few minutes in the fresh air.
Park farther from the entrance- wherever you are going, park farther away from the entrance, so that you can rack up those steps as you go about your errands. A little extra walking never hurt anyone!
What is your favorite way to get your steps in?
What keeps you motivated every day?
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