To burn calories, you must be exercising, right? Well, the answer to this is yes and no. We burn calories whatever we are doing, and yes, exercise is a great way to burn EXTRA calories. But what if there were a NEAT way to burn even more EXTRA calories, I’m sure that would come in handy.

So, what is NEAT?

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. MAYO CLINIC defines NEAT as the energy expended that is not from sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy spent walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks, and fidgeting.

What do the experts say?

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), if NEAT can be combined successfully with properly programmed exercise and nutrition, then NEAT can contribute to an increased level of calories burnt. Therefore, burning more fat.

My experience.

I regularly track my calories burned via NEAT. You’d be surprised how many you can burn! This increased awareness leads me to focus on getting more NEAT into my daily routine. My preference with NEAT is to use it to increase my daily total calorie burn; however, there is another way to use NEAT, that I will come onto shortly.

Here are a few examples of my calorie burn via NEAT.

  • Walking my son to school (parking a couple of streets away rather than the car park) 76 calories, 10.01 minutes.
  • Going to the shop for milk 98 calories, 11.22 minutes
  • Housework (putting clothes to dry/ironing/emptying dishwasher) 323 calories, 62.23 minutes

So, as you can see depending upon how much milk you need or how much housework needs doing, then you can rack up lots of extra calories burnt.

My advice.

As for NEAT, my advice would be to do more. For that matter, moving more (safely / within our limits) is general advice that I would offer to most individuals.

Where NEAT is concerned, the first key is awareness. If you have a heart rate monitor start tracking how many calories you burn doing simple everyday tasks. You will soon see how quickly this all mounts up. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, a simple pedometer available on smartphones will track your increased steps, enabling you to track your increased movement levels.

The second piece of advice would be to look for opportunities to do more, take the stairs, walk to the local shops and when it is safe (COVID permitting) do the weekly shop on foot. The overarching message here is to do more!

Thirdly, when it comes to NEAT, you may wish, as I do to use your calorie burn through NEAT to top up daily calorie burn, or you could save your tasks to do on rest days. That will mean you still get a decent calorie burn whilst resting from planned exercise. Either way, it all counts, so crack on with it.

Doing the dishes has an entirely new perspective now!


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