Thinking about weight management? That’s NEAT!
Updated: May 13, 2022
In my previous article, I wrote about the importance of considering nutrition in work-life balance and introduced the idea that by increasing our activity and exercise levels there is a knock-on effect on our overall daily movement which can have an even more profound impact on our energy needs.
This concept of non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is often not considered when thinking about weight management, with planned or organised exercise being the sole focus for most people and whilst there are undeniable and vital benefits to including exercise for overall health, it is important to consider that it can only account for a relatively small part of the average person's day.
Let’s think about running. You’re able to schedule a 30-minute run, three times per week after work. This is GREAT! You’re getting healthier, training your cardiovascular system and muscles, mobilising your joints and improving your mental health with the bonus of burning a few hundred calories!
You might burn 200 calories on these runs, that’s 600 calories a week. Pretty good going! Now imagine if you increased your daily movement alongside them. You stand rather than sit at your work desk for part of the day (80 calories), you take the stairs to and from your office rather than the lift (20 calories) and you walk to and from the local train station in the morning rather than drive (100 calories). Now you’ve added 200 calories every single day of your working week…That’s a whopping 1000 calories a week ON TOP of your 600 calorie runs and that doesn’t count any additional movement you might choose to add at the weekends.
Now, everybody’s mileage may vary. Depending on your size, gender, relative fitness level etc. you may not use the exact calories in this example, but my point is that all of this movement adds up. The best thing is, if you repeat these unplanned activities long enough they become a habit, which means when something prevents you from doing the planned exercise sessions (because life can and does derail our plans from time to time) you still have all of that instinctive daily movement to keep you mobile, active and using calories throughout the day.
So if you do hit a week when you can only do one run because you have meetings, unexpectedly need to pick up the kids in the evening or have an ever ill-timed burst pipe just as you’re doing up your running shoes, you still have that 1000 calories of basic movement in the bank and counting towards your weekly energy usage.
This is where manipulating NEAT can be extremely useful, combined with exercise and nutrition the choice to include more movement in your day will help you get fitter and stay leaner.
If you’re curious about adding more NEAT to your day and how it fits into the bigger picture of nutrition and energy needs, get in touch at www.craigjoycecoaching.com or email me at email@example.com for a chat.