N.E.A.T. (or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), refers to the intentional activity that you are engaging in outside of your workouts. This could be a variety of things – walking, cleaning, dancing, playing with your kids, riding your bike to and from work, the list goes on. NEAT is widely touted as a way to increase daily caloric expenditure, but there are plenty of other benefits to increasing your daily movement!
Confession: Up until recently, I did not engage in NEAT activities. Not only do I like to go hard in the gym, but I am on my feet for at least 3 hours a day. Come on. That’s enough, right? Honestly, outside of the gym, I consider myself a bit of a couch potato. Work hard, lounge hard!
Well, recently I decided to try this intentional, non-exercise activity for a minimum of 20 minutes a day. My activity of choice has been a 2-mile dog walk – which includes a pretty little stretch of the KK River Trail.
Here’s what I have noticed in one month:
- I have been less sore. It’s SO TEMPTING to relax on the couch after a tough workout, but going for a walk after a heavy lifting session or hill sprints has reduced soreness quite a bit. I even felt like my mobility and flexibility has increased. I can touch my toes again!
- I have started thinking clearly. My brain goes a thousand miles per hour and does not stop. Allowing myself 2 miles to untangle the mess up there has made me feel calmer and more productive. And HAPPIER.
- I feel less stressed. Related to #2: this has become an awesome time to organize and prioritize my thoughts.
- Less cravings. Again, I attribute this to #2 and #4 – a clearer mind and less stress = more mindful eating.
It’s no secret that I love burpees and weight-lifting, but this has been an amazing complement to my regular program. I highly encourage you to find 20-30 minutes to engage in some NEAT activities that you enjoy. Here are some ideas:
- Play with kids – tag, catch, etc
- Leisurely bike ride
- Anything that gets you moving consistently and makes you feel good!
So go out there and do some NEAT stuff!