Harnessing the Power of NEAT

The summer is here + it’s the perfect time to increase our NEAT! But what is NEAT + why is it so important in midlife?

Throughout the day our bodies expend energy in the form of calories. This is known as Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) which includes Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) + Physical Activity (PA). BMR accounts for about 60% of our total daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of calories a body burns just by living + breathing. TEF results in roughly 10% of TDEE. This includes chewing food, absorption + all other digestion processes that go on within the body.

The remaining 30% is (PA) physical activity, which then gets broken down into exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) like running, cycling, strength training + non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) such as walking + taking the stairs. EAT accounts for about 5% of TDEE, but surprisingly NEAT can contribute as much as 15%!

With fluctuating hormones + the decline of oestrogen in midlife, weight management can become increasingly difficult. However increasing our NEAT, can massively help take us into a calorie deficit + help towards weight loss or weight management.

Unknowingly we become a little more sedentary…ever felt like you have sat in the car all day ferrying kids around? Or maybe you have a demanding desk job + stay seated most of the day. Regardless or whether you do a workout or not, your TDEE will be lower than if you incorporate more movement into your day.

NEAT activities are NOT a replacement to EAT activities, but do not underestimate the power of NEAT in your overall health + fitness.  

Summer is the perfect time to get into new habits to increase your daily NEAT! Here are 6 tips:

  1. Walk walk walk! – it may sound obviously but walking is fantastic to add to your daily NEAT. 10,000 steps a day has become the catchy number + recommendation for an adult. Lighter mornings + long summer evenings are a wonderful time to get out there.
  2. Kids on summer hols – there is no better way than ‘play’ to get moving! Jumping on the trampoline, garden activities, paddleboarding, bike rides… seize the opportunity during the summer move or play with your kids.
  3. Micro workouts – a micro minute of exercise throughout the day can not only increase your NEAT, but also help towards your mental wellbeing. If you are sitting at a desk for long periods + staring at a screen – take a mini break. This is a perfect time to practise those push ups, add some mobility or include some balance!
  4. Take the stairs! Even if you are working from home, find an excuse to regularly get those steps in. Climbing the stairs can burn between 5-10 calories + energise those quad muscles, so factor in.
  5. Track your progress – there are so many great + affordable fitness watches on the market. They can really help monitor how much you are moving throughout the day + even send you a quick reminder to ‘move’ if you are stationary for too long!
  6. Those summer jobs – cleared out the summer shed before? Yes! Well you will know that this takes a considerable amount of movement. Summer is the perfect time to roll up the sleeves + get those outside jobs done.  Gardening, cleaning sheds, stacking logs are a perfect way to increase your NEAT!
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