NEAT - A Missing Piece of the Weight Loss Puzzle?
When it comes to weight loss, most people think about calories. “If I burn more than I eat, I’ll lose weight.” It seems simple enough, but it’s not that easy in the real world. The truth is, there are a lot of factors that go into weight loss – and NEAT is another factor that is often forgotten. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, and it is basically the number of calories you burn throughout the day from all of your activities other than exercise. As discussed in a previous post, your RMR (resting metabolic rate) will account for the largest portion of your total daily energy expenditure, however NEAT can account for anywhere from 10% to 30% of your total daily calorie expenditure, so it's definitely something to keep in mind when trying to lose weight!
There are a lot of ways to increase your NEAT, and the best way to find out what works for you is to experiment. Some ideas include taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking up the escalator, parking further away from your destination, standing rather than sitting, and walking during your breaks at work. Small changes like these can add up over time and help you burn more calories. Benefits of extra low intensity activity also extend beyond weight loss such as aiding digestion, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improving your mood, and even protect the body against certain cancers.
Steps and NEAT
One of the easiest ways to get a grasp of your level of NEAT is by using a fitness tracker like iHealth or FitBit. Although these devices are not very accurate, the more steps we take, the more NEAT we are likely to do. This is because when we walk or move around, our body instinctively starts to fidget and move in other ways in order to expend energy. So if you're looking for a way to increase NEAT, one of the best ways is to increase your step count.
How many steps?
10000 steps has become a sort of unofficial goal for daily activity, but is it really necessary? The short answer is no. 10000 steps is simply a proxy for being active which can easily be measured, where your NEAT can come from any form of activity. from shopping to cleaning.
That being said, there's no harm in trying to reach 10000 steps or more each day. It's a good goal to aim for, and it can help you burn more calories overall. Just make sure that you're also focusing on your diet and exercise routine, because those are the most important factors when it comes to weight loss.
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