Non-exercise active thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended by the body during daily activities such as standing, walking, and fidgeting that are not considered exercise, eating, or sleeping. NEAT represents the majority of total daily energy expenditure in sedentary individuals and can vary greatly between individuals, accounting for up to a 2,000 kcal difference per day!
Understanding NEAT and how to increase it can aid in weight management, overall health and in my opinion, that last 10lbs of fat thats covering your 6 pack.
The human body is constantly expending energy to maintain vital functions such as breathing and digestion. NEAT describes the additional energy expended by the body during non-exercise activities such as standing, walking, and fidgeting. Even when sedentary, the body is still expending energy through NEAT. Studies have shown that NEAT can vary greatly between individuals and can account for up to a 2,000 kcal difference per day.
Increasing NEAT can be a strategy for weight management and overall health. Traditional exercise such as running or weightlifting is not the only way to increase energy expenditure. Simple tasks such as walking to work or standing instead of sitting can increase NEAT significantly. For example, standing for two hours per day could burn up to 280 calories per day, which can add up to significant weight loss over time.
In addition to aiding in weight management, increasing NEAT has been associated with several health benefits. Studies have shown that NEAT is positively correlated with insulin sensitivity, which is important for blood sugar regulation and reducing the risk of diabetes. NEAT has also been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving lipid profiles and reducing inflammation in the body.
To increase NEAT, simple changes can be made to daily routines. Choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, standing while on the phone or during meetings, and parking further away from the entrance to work can all increase NEAT. Additionally, incorporating more physical activity throughout the day such as walking during lunch breaks or doing household chores can add up to significant amounts of NEAT. For example I have a great NEAT routine, especially in the summer. I kill 4 birds with one stone. Yes four. Here it is: I walk/run Winston, my dog. That's it. Heres how its a 4 in 1:
So technically my NEAT would be considered exercise but since I have to walk the dog anyways, I just turn it into extra exercise for myself. But I don't consider it a "workout". It's just something I need to get done. Tip: Get a dog.
There is also the benefit of being more frequent in your movement. There are several exercise coaches that will have their clients do "intermittent workouts" instead of one full length session. This is usually due to time restrictions of the client but it surprisingly yeilds great results.
Overall, non-exercise active thermogenesis plays an important role in daily energy expenditure and can be a valuable component of weight management and overall health. By making small changes to daily routines, NEAT can be increased and can provide numerous benefits to the body.