“NEAT… it’s neat”
Have you heard of it? And no I’m not using the synonym to tidy. The word NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Seems simple enough right? Just kidding! Let’s dive into a simple word that can really increase your rate of losing those unwanted pounds.
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis basically means the activity you do that is not planned exercise. So your everyday activity, such as walking around your house, fidgeting with your feet as you watch TV or simply walking around the office. Why is this so important? Well we burn calories doing all these simple activities. So ensuring that our NEAT is always happening is important.
You’ve heard of apps and devices, such as the Fitbit that track your steps. These cool little devices are a great way to monitor how much non-exercise movement we are doing throughout the day. Investing in one can really help you increase the calories you burn during the day. Some of these devices/apps remind you to move more with notifications, have fun competitions with your friends and family and will make you feel accomplished once you’ve met your step goal for the day.
Let’s get into the specifics of how NEAT can help you burn more calories. Let’s think about our neighbourhood postman Tim, and Dan who works in an office. Both these men are about the same height and weight and therefore have the same BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). They are both looking to lose weight and on very similar exercise and diet plans. In this particular scenario postman Tim will burn more calories then Dan because throughout his work day he is walking a lot more then Dan. He is going door-to-door delivering letters and packages, while Dan occasionally gets up to grab a coffee or something from the printer. During his workday Tim can walk up to about 800 steps more than Dan will in a day. So even though both men are eating the same and working out the same, Tim’s NEAT is a lot greater than Dan and he will have a greater success story.
Here’s another scenario, one we are guilty of using as an excuse. We are older and therefore our metabolism is slower than it was before. This is not exactly true. The reality of this is, that when we get older we are naturally less active. Those that are younger spend more time standing and moving about then older people who just sit more. On average a younger person will walk 500 more minutes than an older person, who will walk about 350 minutes. Now that we know this, we have to make sure that we truly are moving more, regardless of our age. Make it a habit and it will be easier and easier.
So how can you ensure that your NEAT is helping you burn extra calories? Simple. Get an app or one of those gadgets that will keep note of your steps throughout the day. Try and get at least 10,000 steps a day, which can quickly add up to 70,000 steps a week. Here are a few ideas to help increase those steps;
- Take the dog out for a longer walk than usual. Plan a 2-5km walk instead of just around the block.
- Go for a walk with the family. Visit a local park and explore.
- Leave the car in the furthest parking spot possible and walk from there to where you need to go.
- Take the stairs.
- Take frequent walk breaks at the office.
- Go to the upstairs washroom instead of the one on your floor.
- Print from the whole office printer and not your personal printer.
- During lunch, go for a walk.
- Invest in (or request) a stand up desk.
- Plan a family cycle on the weekend.
The point is to move, and move as often as you can. When we increase our NEAT we increase the number of calories burned. So instead of sitting there right now, get up and move! But be sure to come back and visit us to find out more about how you can become a 10XDad.