NEATen Up Your Day

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Have you always prided yourself as being a NEAT person? Do you think your life needs a little more NEATness to it?

According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, adding just a little extra NEAT to our daily lives can make quite an impact not only in weight loss attempts but in our fitness goals as well.

So what exactly is NEAT? NEAT is an acronym for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, a term coined by the Mayo Clinic to describe everyday activities that we do besides formal exercise that helps us raise our daily caloric expenditure.

These are small pockets of every day activities that add up over the course of a day, week, month, and yes, even years. You know those extra steps we take around the grocery store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, carrying your groceries into your house, heck even pacing while you are talking on the phone.

You’d think this would be simple, right? I wish.

With the advent of new technology, we no longer have the greatest opportunity for these small, yet cumulative, caloric expenditures that our ancestors experienced years ago. The conveniences of today may explain some of our gaining ways over the years. Technologies such as garage door openers, remote controls, robot vacuum cleaners, and elevators all make our lives easier while taking away a great opportunity to burn just a few extra calories.

But never fear, NEAT is here! According to the Mayo Clinic study NEAT may be the reason why individuals who eat the same number of calories, burn the same number of calories from exercise, while having the same body type can have very different body compositions.

The reason, those who fidget, pace, park the car farther from the entrance, walk to their co-worker's cubicle for help, play Wii Fit with their kids, mow their own lawn, clean their own house, walk the dog, etc. are burning more calories for these activities than they would sitting in front of the TV or computer.

The Mayo Clinic study also reported that NEAT individuals who had very active jobs burned as many as 1,000 calories more per day then their sedentary coworkers. If this doesn't rattle your cage, that is equivalent to an average individual running almost 10 miles! While most people will not burn nearly that many calories in their day, any time one can burn a little here and a little there, it all adds up.

How do you incorporate NEAT habits into your life? And if you currently incorporate these habits into your daily life, have they made a difference?