NEAT - An Innovative Approach to Weight Loss and Healthy Lifestyle

NEAT is an innovative approach to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, but do you know how to use it correctly to get results? So fasten your seatbelt and get ready to get some insight into a new technique to lose weight because this article holds all the information about approaching a healthy lifestyle with an exciting and not-so-talked-about process called NEAT.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a scientific term for daily calories burned. All the regular activities you do in a day are NEAT activities. The name sounds a bit fancy, but it includes all the simple activities like cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, walking, and even sleeping–Yeah, you heard it!

On the contrary, the intentional exercises you do for weight or fat loss are physical activities. Physical activity, no doubt, plays a vital role in fat loss. But if you focus on your NEAT, you can take your health and well-being to a new level.

Let’s get into some ted-talk here and see the NEAT principle. What does it do? And how is it helpful in burning fat?

The Comprehensive Science Behind NEAT: 

First, look into how the body’s fat loss mechanism works to understand NEAT. The amount of fat you lose depends on your energy expenditure.

Let’s suppose you consume a certain amount of calories in a day. To lose weight, you must balance the number of calories consumed and the number of calories used. That’s where the energy balance equation comes in.

The energy balance equation explains the science behind energy expenses throughout the day. It suggests that the energy you spend the whole day is the sum of your Resting Metabolic Rate, NEAT Activity, Physical Activity, and the Thermic Effect of Food.

As per the Equation:

Energy Expenditures = Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) + Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T) + Physical Activity (PA) + Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

Where,

  • The resting metabolic rate is the energy you require while at rest. This includes lung, heart, brain, kidney, and liver functions.
  • Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy you consume while doing all your daily activities besides the intentional workout.
  • Physical activity is the energy burned while performing workouts like cycling, gymming, running, jogging, or weight training.
  • The Thermic Effect of Food is the energy required to maintain the physiological functions of digesting food.

So basically, you will have to keep a check and balance on your overall energy expenditure. You can’t just cut calories and expect to lose weight faster. Because by doing so, your body will try to maintain thermogenesis, and you will end up sluggish rather than fit and healthy.

The question here is, why do we have to keep a check on our NEAT, and what the difference between NEAT and physical activities is?

NEAT(Natural Activities) vs. Workouts:

There is no objection that physical exercises and workouts contribute to people’s fitness. However, other things are overlooked when it comes to losing weight — one being NEAT.

You would argue that an hour at the gym is a hell of a task than doing random chores at home. Right!

But how about you look at it the other way around? You spend 5 hours per week at the gym working your butt off, burning, let’s say, 3500 calories a week, and end up losing one pound of body fat.

Have you ever realized how many hours per week you spend doing biological activities at home? Probably 30 to 50% more than you spend working out. That’s when it hits you hard that NEAT is the real Hulk.

So, focusing on your NEAT is more natural and effective at burning fat than working out. -As per the Goal Master Fitness, Don Graham –

At this point, you would be expecting us to cut it short and come to the actual issue. I.e., how the hell do we increase our quality of health by focusing on NEAT, and what activities can be counted as NEAT? Right? We hear what you are saying!

Why Is NEAT Effective?

There is no rocket science in explaining and understanding the effectiveness of NEAT. According to theories, an average person can burn around 1500 to 2000 calories daily by adding everyday chores to their day.

How about increasing your caloric burn alongside the gym with walking, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping? Will it cause a drastic change in your weight loss?

Not sure? Suppose you did 1-hour at the gym; now you will inevitably end up thinking, ” I have had enough” and will continue to lounge all day –munching a handful of an unhealthy snack as a treat for the hectic work you did– resulting in gaining half the calories back.

Unlike this, increasing NEAT will subconsciously partake in burning fat by manipulating your mind to eat less and lose more. Whip-smart? IKR.

What Natural Activities Can Increase Your NEAT?

All the fitness freaks would probably be jumping for joy at this point. Instead, we will explain the basics and use productive activities to take your NEAT game to the next level. Let’s wait no more and see what these are.

Walk Your NEAT off Throughout the Day.

Make a habit of walking for 10 to 15 mins every few hours. And if intentional walking seems challenging, play with your mind a bit. Walk to the store to get your essentials, and walk a few extra blocks before reaching your block at the office. Take a different turn around the park before coming back to your home.

You can walk as much as you can per day to keep your body balanced. But for a general idea, at least 7 to 10k steps a day can take the fat loss to a new level.

Treat Yourself to a Home-Cooked Meal Every Day.

Cooking for yourself is a great idea, and the reason is two-fold: you can enjoy a delicious and healthy meal with lower calories and higher nutrients. And secondly, you burn an estimated 300 calories during a single hour of cooking. Cooking is one of the best natural activities to increase your NEAT.

So, think twice the next time you order a pizza and a coke. You will be adding many calories and expending nothing (in terms of calories, of course).

Be Creative with Your Working Desk During Office Time.

People spend most of their day at the office, where the problem begins. You sit in your seat long, causing a low NEAT. That’s your time to be innovative and switch to a better option for yourself. You can stand instead. Many offices are now introducing treadmills in the workplace to promote healthy office hours.

Sitting and standing make a difference in terms of calories burnt. But standing certainly helps eliminate back pain and joint problems that come as a bonus with your “paycheck.”

Never Underestimate the Power of Sports and Games.

Playing a street game –like basketball or football– now and then with your buds won’t cost you a fortune. Instead, you will lose an unimaginable amount of weight in no time. Studies have shown that games can help a lot when it comes to losing weight and staying fit.

Your brain won’t constantly remind you that you did a hectic workout. Instead, your mental health will get a boost. Games also keep you moving and prevent physical and mental stress.

Choose the Stairs Over the Elevator.

Have you ever noticed that going upstairs increases your heartbeat and breathing rate? It’s because you do a lot of work in terms of physics when you go against gravity. Now imagine going up and down the stairs twice or thrice a day. Ascending the stairs is another excellent natural activity to add to your daily routine, helping you burn fat.

Nobody denies the benefits of the gadgets that technology has provided us with- read “lifts and elevators.” But old is gold remember? So take a few floors on foot and switch to the elevator if you’re too tired to go up naturally.

Do Your Grocery and Other Outdoor Chores.

Don’t wait for the delivery guy to deliver your food. It’s convenient and saves time, we agree. But in the long run, it will make you lazy and fat.

Walking down the aisle in stores will cause more energy expenditure. You will be burning calories and losing weight without even knowing it. So the next time you open that app to get your order delivered home, someone will cut your grass or wash your car. So shut the Internet off, grab your shoes, and do it yourself.

Own a Pet or Get Yourself a Partner

Partner doesn’t necessarily mean you have to tie the knot with someone. You can ask a friend, a roommate, or a colleague to partner with you in your everyday tasks at home or the office.

Maybe you have heard that two heads are better than one. Well, in this case, they sure are. You can go for long walks, go shopping, or do laundry together. You will see yourself taking an interest in these chores when there is someone to do them with.

Unless you’re a Misanthrope, in that case, you can adopt a cute puppy, and they will be your company while you perform biological activities.

Get a Good and Sound Night of Sleep.

It may sound shocking, but lack of sleep is directly associated with obesity. Studies suggest a little daily rest can increase your food intake and decrease energy expenditure. The exact mechanism of this is not yet known, but many types of research have shown that people with chronic sleep deprivation have obesity.

Getting the proper sleep is yet another embodiment of getting a NEAT boost.

But wait, all we talked about was weight loss. So can increasing NEAT activities help in disease prevention too? If yes, how?

Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis and Its Correlation with Disease Prevention:

Now, NEAT activities will be all good for your fitness, fat loss, and weight maintenance. But the other side of the picture is worth looking at the health benefits of NEAT. And by health benefits, we mean disease prevention.

Many severe health risks arrive when you become sedentary and spend more time lounging on your couch. Of course, being inactive for a while is another thing, but not pushing yourself for everyday tasks is a lifestyle. And once you are addicted to doing nothing. Bang! You’re hit by many diseases, including Cardiac problems, metabolic syndromes, thrombosis, embolism, and not to forget – Obesity. 

So, incorporating biological activities into your daily life will save you from many health risks and diseases, eventually making you fit and healthy.

Factors on which NEAT Depends:

In 2014, research was started to study the role of NEAT in human obesity, which suggested that the number of calories burned by NEAT carries from person to person. This explains that some people lose less weight, and some lose more weight with the same workout.

According to the study, the calorie difference between individuals can be up to 2000 calories depending on various factors. The factors on which NEAT depends are:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Body type
  • Bodyweight
  • Body-mass Index
  • Diet
  • Nature of Work
  • Metabolism etc

To Wrap It Up

Don’t be a gym rat who works out all week in the gym and ends up dining at Domino, eating two large fajitas. Instead, work smart and combine the gym and NEAT to burn more calories. If you or someone you know is looking to improve your health, share this article on Facebook or Twitter so that others can learn more about self-care.

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By Terry Clark

Terry Clark, M.S. is a math professor, certified fitness trainer, nutritionist, bodybuilding coach, writer, and fitness enthusiast. Terry loves working out, math, music, chess, cooking, writing, and teaching.

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