You know being active is very important! You’ve always been told you should get 60 minutes a day of physical activity to stay healthy or to lose weight. And, you usually think that means you have to go to the gym, lift weights, etc. What would you say if I told you that you don’t always have to do that!
Do you ever have a stay at home day and just do the dishes, laundry, maybe clean up your bedroom? That is also burning calories!
This is something called NEAT.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity. Some other examples of this are like swimming while on vacation or walking into Starbucks to grab your coffee. It is anything that is movement but isn’t a “workout”. Even cleaning your house or doing laundry is NEAT.
Now why is this so important?
Increasing your NEAT can help increase how many calories you are burning throughout the day. Your body burns a certain amount of calories at rest from doing daily body processes. These processes could be digesting your food, pumping your heart to get blood around your body, flexing your muscles while walking, etc. Doing normal activities like taking the stairs or making dinner increases your exercise and burns even more calories without actually working out!
Let's say you are going on vacation and don’t have a lot of time to workout because you have other plans. No worries!
Think about how many places you walked that day or how you rode a bike around the town for sightseeing. Did you go swimming in the ocean with your family? How many times did you walk to leave your hotel or go get ice from down the hall? All of these examples are NEAT.
This doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to exercise. You still should workout! Working out will definitely burn more calories than NEAT most likely. But NEAT can help you burn even more calories and help you get into a calorie deficit and capitalize on the increased burn from exercise.
A calorie deficit is when you consume less calories than you are burning. This helps you lose weight. By using NEAT, you can increase the amount of calories burned while doing the things you need to get done. Take the stairs instead of the elevator!
The next time you don’t have time for a workout, think about all the other ways to get activity into your day.