Maximizing physical activity when you are in a sedentary job can be a challenge. This sounds pretty cliché but human beings are made for activity, we aren’t made for sitting long hours and doing nothing. Now, that there is a guideline for doing 10,000 steps a day which is a good indicator that you are active throughout the day, we should also check whether the 10k steps are done at once or slowly through the day. If you keep moving along through the day you might add in a few more thousand steps to your 10K and the process is called increasing your NEAT (Nonexercise activity thermogenesis).
NEAT contributes to 15% of the Total Daily Energy Expenditure. When your fitness tracker shows you the number of calories expended through the day that is your total daily energy expenditure.
TDEE = Non resting energy expenditure (NRE) (30%) + resting energy expenditure ( REE)(70%)
NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis comes under Non-Resting Energy Expenditure constituting 15% of the TDEE. The remaining 10% is the thermic effect of food and 5% is Exercise Activity Thermogenesis i.e energy expended during exercise.
What is included in NEAT?
All activities that we tend to do throughout the day are counted in NEAT. For example
Walking is good for the heart but have you ever checked how much do you walk for your basic works like taking a TV remote, switching off the fan, doing household chores, watering plants. If you check, there is a huge difference in the steps taken when we are sedentary and when we are doing our basic works around the house/ office. So walking other than your normal walks (exercise) is the best way to increase NEAT.
Having playtime with kids
This one is the winner as most of us who have kids around often do not find time to workout so playtime with kids is the best way you can improve on NEAT.
Parking a little ahead of the destination
In India, this can be done very easily, parking a little ahead of the destination and just walking to the place you want to go, you can add 800-1000 steps by walking up and down
If you are learning any dance form, this is one of the best ways to expend some more calories in NEAT.
Cooking, cleaning, vacuuming around, gardening all constitute to NEAT of a person. The number of calories may vary but it definitely matters.
Watching TV and fidgeting or stretching
As cool as it sounds, now watching TV without guilt is easy. While watching TV you can fidget your legs, do some stretches, extend your arms from time to time so that you are not totally sedentary.
Take a phone call and walk away with more calorie burn. Walk on all the calls that you receive, it would add to some steps and make you feel more energetic through the day.
Fitness Nerd Note: NEAT constitutes 15% of our total energy expenditure as against Exercise Activity Thermogenesis which constitutes only 5% of our total energy expenditure. So, it is good to concentrate on 15% of TDEE.
The bottom line is :
You really do not need a hardcore workout regime to lose those pounds. Being active throughout the day and expending calories would help just to keep that weight off.
My personal experience:
“I have been working out for last many years, but it is recently that I have added onto my NEAT. Those 200-300 more calories I have been adding to my TDEE quite often. Results are amazing. I feel light and there are a few inches off from the waist ( Just what we need).
I just added in more steps to my usual work. Instead of sitting and working, I have a standing desk. Changed the overall environment where I can take some more steps to accomplish a normal home chore. Watched TV while completing my steps instead of sitting. In short, made some very simple choices which paid off.”
Let me know what do you think.