Do you know people who seemingly can eat anything and not put on weight? If you think you are unlucky and have a slow metabolism, you may be surprised to hear that this is not entirely out of your control.
There is no doubt that diet is the main factor for weight management, but there are other contributing factors of course. An obvious one is exercise, but there is another one that can make a big difference and you may not have heard of it.
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It includes all your physical movement throughout the day, not counting your “official” workouts. It accounts for all the calories you burn from casual walking, shopping, gardening, housework, pacing around, and standing around (being up on your feet instead of sitting). It even includes tiny little things like changing posture and fidgeting.
For most people, NEAT accounts for about 30% of physical activity calories spent daily. But NEAT can run as low as 15% in sedentary people and as high as 50% in highly active people. The majority of NEAT is made up from walking, but the type of work you do (active or sedentary) can make a big difference.
It is easy to make the mistake of focusing a lot of attention to the calories you burn during exercise, while ignoring all the other moving around you can do during the day. If you start moving more throughout the day, outside workouts, you will jack up potential fat burning.
Here are a few ideas on how to do this:
· Walk when you can
· Take the stairs wherever possible
· Get off public transport early to walk the rest
· Play with your dog
· Play with your child(ren)
· Stand or pace around more, instead of sitting
· Plan some housework every day
· Fidget (at the risk of annoying those around you…)
· Move every time the kettle is boiling (squats, press ups on the work surface, etc)
· Do some gardening