If you’ve ever embarked on a weight loss program, you know the rules of the game: count your calories and make more mindful food choices; train regularly; sleep enough; manage your hormones and stress. However, there is another component of weight loss and fitness that we aren’t talking about enough: NEAT. According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis includes the activities expended outside of exercise, eating and sleeping.
“Simple tasks such as raking leaves, physical labour, climbing stairs and even fidgeting help us expend additional calories,” says a 2014 article on the ACE website, pointing out that NEAT increases metabolic rate and results in people expending a substantial amount of energy over time. “Adopting NEAT behaviours can increase daily caloric expenditure by as much as 350 calories per day, and is particularly beneficial for obese individuals,” it adds.
Also Read: Let’s talk about women’s nutrition
Yash Vardhan Swami, a Chandigarh-based fitness coach and educator, agrees with this. “Human bodies are meant to move and movement is amazing for cardiovascular and lymphatic health too,” he says, pointing out that NEAT can help burn extra calories, help digestion, manage stress and get one to sleep better. And yes, it helps that it is free and does not require any dedicated equipment or membership or tutorial, he adds.
Unfortunately, however, many of us ignore this aspect of fitness. Let’s face it, most of us come back home after a 45-minute workout and then plop on the couch all day, claiming to be too tired to move. “There is a study when people start a weight loss program, they often cut out all those other actions like going to a shop, buying groceries etc,” says Abishek Balaji, a Chennai-based fitness coach and the founder of 24X7 Fitness Studio.
Also Read: Do these stretches for better flexibility and mobility
The end result is that you may end up not losing weight since the total calories you’ve burnt overall, even after working out, will remain the same. “I feel NEAT gets neglected because most of us don’t understand the importance of being active,” says Swami who believes that most people undermine the number of calories we can burn just …….