NEAT is the energy expended for everything that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercises. NEAT includes activities like walking to work, typing, taking the stairs, working in the garden, but can also include things like fidgeting (I have written a blog about how fidgeting can help you body function better, you can read it here). Levine has said that all of these small movements add up over the day and can even help you lose weight. Levine, who works out of the Mayo clinic, said that people can burn 100 to 150 calories an hour by increasing their NEAT. In fact, NEAT can account for an 850 calorie difference a day in energy expenditure and this is all due to activities that aren’t full-on work or exercise.
For those that like a little more detail. Our body’s energy expenditure is broken down like the image below. We have the resting metabolic rate (basal metabolic rate), the thermic effect of the food that we eat and then what ever activity you have during the day. This includes your NEAT and your traditional exercise. It stands to reason that if you burn more energy than you take in, you could lose weight.
The answer to help try and counteract our sedentary lifestyle is quite simple, just try to move more. In my next blog post I will look at lots of ways you can increase your non-exercise movement or NEAT. This will help your body function better and may also help you lose some weight. Either way, your body will thank you for it.