Have you ever thought about how the small activities you do throughout your day impact your overall health? Yeah, me either, until now! Let’s say you have a goal to improve your health by eating cleaner and working out more. Oftentimes, there is too much focus strictly on the results one is getting from their workout/food, that nothing else is taken into consideration. This is where your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) comes into effect.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy you use during your day-to-day activities, aside from working out, such as walking to and from your car, typing on a keyboard, standing in line for coffee, etc. It also includes other activities, such as sleeping and eating, that do not normally come to mind as energy burning activities.
As simple as it sounds, your NEAT is essential to your wellbeing. So where do you start? How do you improve or increase your NEAT? You can start by changing certain habits, both big and small, to create a new daily routine for yourself. For instance, if you take the elevator to work, you can choose to take the stairs instead. Another example is choosing to walk on your lunch break instead of sitting for an hour. One could also use a stand-up desk at work instead of sitting for 8 hours a day. The article, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and Health, states, “According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 145 lb. person can expect to burn approximately 102 calories an hour while sitting at work. If that person stood while working, they would burn 174 calories.” That is 576 additional calories over an 8-hour workday! While this is only referring to standing opposed to sitting, it shows that small changes made in your day can lead to big changes in your health.
There’s not a set number of hours you need to focus on your NEAT in a given day. Quality over quantity is what matters most. Each one of us has different circumstances, and depending on your occupation, it can have a big effect on your NEAT. For instance, if you work in construction, your NEAT will likely be greater than someone who works at a desk all day. Neither of the two prior occupations will have a NEAT that registers near a mom who stays home with four children. All in all, it is essential to focus on moving your body a little more each day. Day by day, habit by habit, you will increase your NEAT and your health will benefit.
If you would like to discuss NEAT further with a therapist, schedule an appointment online. Activity modification for injury prevention and healthy living are topics our professional staff addresses with each patient and would be happy to examine with you as well.
How can you improve your NEAT?