NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, is simply a fancy way of describing physical activity that is not related to traditional weight training or physical exercise.
Things like fidgeting or changing our posture (which are subconscious most of the time), as well as how much we move around in our everyday lives (which is mostly a conscious choice on our part), all play a factor in how many calories our bodies are burning during the day, and thus directly relates to the kinds of fat loss we will see from our nutrition and exercise regiment.
The benefits of NEAT activity are numerous, and include everything from elevated energy expenditure, lowered stress levels, increased speed of recovery from traditional exercise, as well as aid in lowering the level of hormones such as cortisol (which helps to preserve muscle mass while in a calorie deficit).
Although it is true that this type of activity doesn’t burn a lot of additional calories during the actual activity itself, what it does do (and does very well), is to increase overall daily energy output with almost no additional stress on the body, and actually aids in decreasing recovery time from weight training and traditional cardio such as running.
While you don’t burn a lot of calories during the activity itself, if you are consistent with the amount of NEAT activity you are performing on a daily basis, the numbers start to pile up and make a big difference. Let’s say that for the sake of argument that you accumulate 300 extra calories of energy expenditure a day, on a regular and consistent basis. This equals an extra 2100 calories per week.
Since a pound of fat contains roughly 3500 calories, and assuming that you are disciplined and consistent with your nutrition, this will add 2/3 of a pound of additional fat loss to your results per week.
That’s a LOT of extra weight loss over the course of a year, from relaxing and health beneficial activity that actually lowers your stress levels and helps you recuperate more efficiently from traditional exercise!
Some easy ways to increase NEAT activity in your life and further your fat loss results include:
- Using a pedometer (or a smartphone app) to track how many steps you take in a day, and having a daily target that you shoot for every single day (10,000 steps is a good starting point)
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Going for a walk on your lunch hour instead of sitting in the lunchroom on your phone once you are done eating
- Going outside to play catch or frisbee with your kids after supper instead of sitting on the couch watching Netflix
- Engaging in light yoga or doing some static stretching while watching TV
- Taking the dog for a walk
- Starting the day off with some stretching or a walk before you get ready for the day
Start to incorporate NEAT activity into your everyday routine, and watch your fat loss results accelerate!
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