Do you know how NEAT can help your overall health?

You literally may be thinking, oh god she’s on about something else to do with fitness, or here’s another fitness acronym…. well yes, you’re right on both accounts, so #sorrynotsorry 😊

Your metabolism is always working away in the background burning energy. During periods of higher activity, like a gym session, your body will bur more calories than when you are at rest. However, even at rest your body is always using energy in some way. How you burn energy (or use calories), known as your totally daily energy expenditure (TDEE), can be popped into three categories…

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) – also known as your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the amount of energy your body uses to support the running of your organs and physiological systems. This makes up about 60-75% of your TDEE. The organs that burn the most calories at rest are your brain, liver and skeletal muscle. Your brain alone actually uses about a fifth of your RMR, which explains why you don’t think as clearly when you’re hungry!

Thermic effect of food (TEF) – the energy the body uses to convert the food you eat into more energy or move it to a place to be stored (as fat) for use at a later time. This makes up about 10%.

Thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA) – this is the remaining use of your energy expenditure (15-30%). Included in this is also your post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which is the energy the body burns after exercise to help it return to its normal state.

Confusing I know so bear with me! The science behind how our body works and how it distributes energy is actually pretty fascinating (I mean for some of us anyway ha).

TEPA can be split into two types of activity – planned exercise and spontaneous non-exercise activities. Your non-exercise activities happen every time you do some sort of physical exertion such as standing up from your chair in the office to grab a brew or running to catch the bus.

While exercise is such an important form of physical activity, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can play a huge role in helping to maximise the total amount of calories you burn every day.  

How can NEAT aid with health and weight-loss?

I’m so glad you asked and I’m almost proud of you for getting through all the science bit 😜

Standing can make more of a difference than you think! Recent studies by the NHS have shown that sitting down for too long can be detrimental on your metabolism, which affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, pressure and break down your body’s fat.

Your daily steps really do add up. Whether you follow the 10,000 step rule or slightly less it really doesn’t matter. The simple act of adding more steps to your day is an important element of NEAT that can burn calories and add healthy, non-aggressive activity to your life. As the weather begins to change and the sun starts to make an appearance (hopefully), why not take yourself out for a walk on your lunch break or on an evening before dinner?

Clean yourself fit. A horrible notion if you hate housework but doing bits and bobs around the house, whether this is cleaning, hoovering, cooking dinner or just pottering is an awesome way to increase your daily NEAT.

If you have kids, get them involved too. Nowadays every child I see has some form of a smartphone or tablet. It’s a sight that actually upsets me a little bit, especially as I spent a lot of my childhood playing outside in the garden or doing activities inside. Head out with your kids, take a football or go to the park for 30 minutes and spend some precious time with them while also racking up your NEAT!

If your ultimate goal is losing weight, then NEAT should be an essential part of your journey. Did you know that one pound of body fat can provide you around 3,500 calories worth of energy? If you increase your NEAT by just 200 calories (about a two mile walk), while also making healthier food and drink choices and reducing your intake by around 300 calories (that’s those crisps and fizzy drink in your lunch time meal deal), that’s around 500 fewer calories a day. Continue that for seven days a week and you’ll reach that pound of body fat loss sooner than you think!

NEAT may seem like a small and meaningless thing to do but by making these small lifestyle changes, you’ll create an amazing foundation for sustainable weight loss.


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