The Power Of NEAT Exercise - Why Every Movement Counts

The Power Of NEAT Exercise: Why Every Movement Counts

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We often prioritize structured exercise routines such as running, cycling, or weightlifting in our quest for fitness and well-being. While these activities certainly play a vital role in promoting health and fitness, another form of movement is overlooked but equally important: NEAT exercise.

So, what exactly is NEAT, why is it important, and how can you incorporate it into your daily routine? NEAT is the exercise you do throughout the day. You do things for daily living, such as gardening, shopping, or taking stairs. NEAT should be an essential part of all our lives.

Table of Contents

What Is NEAT Exercise?

Face it: After COVID, when many of us work from home, exercising as part of our daily routine has become more challenging. NEAT is our movement that is not part of our formal exercise routine.

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which sounds like a mouthful but refers to the energy expended while carrying out any daily activity that isn’t formal exercise or sleeping. This includes walking, gardening, taking the stairs, cleaning the house, or even fidgeting at your desk.

Essentially, NEAT encompasses all the small movements and physical activities we engage in throughout the day that contribute to our overall energy expenditure.

NEAT Exercise
Taking Stairs Is An Example Of NEAT Exercise

Why Is NEAT Exercise Important?

NEAT exercise may not involve structured workouts or gym sessions, but its impact on our health and well-being should not be underestimated. NEAT can account for a significant portion of our total energy expenditure or the number of calories we burn daily.

Incorporating NEAT into our daily routine can boost our metabolism, improve cardiovascular health, enhance mobility and flexibility, and promote mental well-being.

Dr. Folusha Oluwajana, a GP and trainer, emphasizes the importance of NEAT exercise, stating that it can be crucial in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of long-term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.

Even for individuals who are not considered overweight, low NEAT levels can still pose health risks and are directly associated with poorer long-term health outcomes.

Incorporating NEAT Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating NEAT exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Here are some simple ways to increase your NEAT levels throughout the day:

Take The Stairs

Opt for the stairs whenever possible instead of taking the elevator or escalator. Climbing stairs is an excellent way to engage your lower body muscles and boost your heart rate.

Walk Whenever You Can

Whether you walk to work, take a stroll during your lunch break, or walk your dog in the evening, incorporating more walking into your day is an easy way to increase NEAT exercise.

Stand Up And Move

If you have a desk job, make an effort to stand up and move around regularly throughout the day. Set a timer to remind yourself to take short breaks to stretch, walk, or do a few squats or lunges.

Engage In Household Chores

Household chores such as vacuuming, mopping, gardening, or washing dishes can all contribute to NEAT exercise. Turn on music and make chores more enjoyable by dancing or moving energetically.

Be Mindful Of Sedentary Behavior

Be mindful of prolonged periods of sitting and aim to break up sedentary behavior with short bursts of activity. Set reminders to stand up, stretch, or take a short walk every hour.

Make It Fun

NEAT exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Find activities that you enjoy and incorporate them into your daily routine. Whether dancing, playing with your kids, or practicing yoga, exercise can be a source of joy and pleasure.

Cleaning The House Is Example Of NEAT Exercise
Cleaning The House Is An Example Of NEAT Exercise

If You Have A Desk Job: Ways To Incorporate NEAT Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

For many of us with desk jobs or who work from home, finding ways to incorporate movement and exercise into our daily routine can be challenging. However, with some creativity and intentionality, it’s possible to boost your NEAT levels and reap the benefits of increased physical activity throughout the day.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to get NEAT into your daily routine, even if you spend most of your time sitting at a desk:

Set An Alarm To Get Up And Walk During Phone Calls:

Instead of remaining seated during phone calls, take advantage of the opportunity to move up. Set an alarm or reminder to stand up and walk around while on the phone. Whether you pace around the room, lap around the office, or stretch your legs, incorporating movement into your phone calls is an easy way to increase NEAT exercise throughout the day.

Take The Stairs Whenever You Can

Whether at the office, in a shopping mall, or visiting a friend’s apartment building, make it a habit to take the stairs whenever possible. Climbing stairs is a great way to elevate your heart rate, engage your leg muscles, and burn extra calories. If you can choose between taking the stairs and using an elevator or escalator, opt for the stairs to sneak in some extra NEAT exercise.

Take Extra Steps Whenever You Can

Look for opportunities to take extra steps throughout your day. Instead of emailing a coworker, walk to their desk to deliver your message in person. Park your car farther from your destination to add more steps to your daily total.

Whenever you get up from your desk, take the scenic route to the water cooler or restroom to add a few extra steps to your journey.

Use A Standing Desk Or Desk Converter

Consider using a standing desk or a desk converter that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Standing while working reduces sitting time and encourages subtle movements such as shifting weight, pacing, or stretching.

Standing desks can help alleviate the adverse effects of prolonged sitting and promote better posture and circulation.

Playing With Kids Is An Example of NEAT Exercise
Playing With Kids Is An Example of NEAT Exercise

Incorporate Active Breaks Into Your Workday

Instead of taking your lunch break at your desk, make it a point to walk outside or around the office building. Schedule short breaks throughout the day to stretch, do a few bodyweight exercises or practice desk yoga. These active breaks boost NEAT exercise, help refresh your mind, and increase productivity.

By incorporating these simple strategies into your daily routine, you can increase your NEAT levels and reap the numerous health benefits of regular physical activity, even if you have a desk job. Remember, every movement counts, so seize every opportunity to sneak in some extra steps and keep your body in motion throughout the day.

NEAT exercise may not involve structured workouts or sweat-inducing activities, but its impact on our health and well-being is undeniable. Incorporating more movement and physical activity into our daily lives can boost our metabolism, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

So, let’s embrace the power of NEAT exercise and make every movement count towards a healthier, more active lifestyle.

You Can Listen To Our Podcast About Why Does Every Movement Matter? Exploring NEAT Exercise Below or By clicking here.

Why Does Every Movement Matter? Exploring NEAT Exercise

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