Have you heard of NEAT? Not the one where you're orderly and tidy. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is all the energy expended throughout the day that does not include eating, sleeping or structured exercise. This includes fidgeting, standing and moving around and performing basic tasks such as household chores and most often represents a greater quantity of expended calories in a day than what is accumulated through a single exercise session. In other words, vacuuming counts as physical activity.
Tracking Your Progress
I recently received the apple watch as a gift from my husband. It's really cool until you're minding your own business, sitting, scrolling on insta, and it tells you to stand. Or it reminds you that you haven't yet exercised that day. As part of the set up process the iwatch asked what I wanted my daily goal to be on the fitness app. There are 3 colored rings that appear on the home screen. There is a move goal (red ring), there's an exercise goal (green ring) and a stand goal (blue ring). After you set your specific goals the app tracks your movement and will let you know daily if you've reached your goal. It can also let you know how far you've walked and, when you choose one of the exercise activities, it tracks your time. calories burned and monitors your heart rate. Before I used the watch I considered myself a pretty active person. According to recent research, my one hour a day, 5 days a week in the gym isn't enough. In other words, you can't work out and then sit at your desk or binge watch Netflix the rest of the day. My iwatch reminds me how much I've moved and how much more I need to move.
To truly reap the rewards one must stay active and do physical activity throughout the day. Which means if you work and your job entails you're on your feet most hours in a given day, you are burning calories while working. The more active you are the better your rate of fat loss.
One research review noted that the benefits of NEAT go well beyond extra calories expended. More NEAT also means less risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular events, and death from all causes. Plus, research shows that inactivity can negate the hard work you put into intentional exercise. Fighting sedentary behavior with NEAT helps you reap the benefits of your workouts.
Take A Walk
There are small ways you can incorporate NEAT into your life. At work and at home, opt for a standing desk instead of sitting. You can also use a stability ball in lieu of, or in addition to, a standing desk.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 145-pound 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. An extra 72 calories might not seem like a lot, but it can add up to more than 18,000 calories burned per year, leading to an approximate 5-pound weight loss. Without utilizing NEAT, you would have to do 60 30-minute runs at 5 miles per hour to burn the same rate of calories.
If you are waiting in line or sitting stuck in traffic, find small ways to move. It may not burn as many calories as going for a jog, but even tapping your foot or bobbing your head to music helps your body take advantage of NEAT. Make conscious decisions to move and use your body more. If you are going food shopping, carry a basket instead of using a cart. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
If you are sitting most hours of the day make a point of taking a long walk at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day in addition to taking frequent, short breaks throughout the day to stand up and move around. Even just 1 mile twice a day is enough to contribute to your daily movement goals.
The good news is shopping (not the online kind) counts as burning calories!