Now That's NEAT™

Today, sedentary lifestyles pose an enormous health risk, taking a toll on individuals as well as on employers. For many years the dangers of inactive lifestyles have been known. According to the World Health Organization, “Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally.”

“Physical activity” and “exercise” are not interchangeable terms. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity and is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful with a fitness objective. Physical activity includes exercise in addition to other activities that involve bodily movement including playing, working, active transportation, household chores and other recreational activities.

NEAT™ stands for the science of NonExercise Activity Thermogenesis, and the science of NEAT™ tells us that activity, all activity, is important and has an impact on metabolic demand (caloric expenditure) and cardiovascular health. Even minimal activity increases one's metabolic rate, and over the course of a day the cumulative results of NEAT™ activity is significant.

Developed by the Mayo Clinic, NEAT™ refers to the energy we expend on activity we undertake outside of the gym and aside from sleeping or eating. Within the home, NEAT™ activity includes vacuuming, gardening, or sweeping the sidewalk. In the workplace it could include walking meetings, climbing the stairs, stretching during boardroom sessions, walking around, typing and even fidgeting.

Ways to incorporate more NEAT™ activity into your life:

  • Park at the far end of the parking lot to give you the chance to get in some extra walking.
  • After the gym, instead of hitting the sofa and watching some TV, do some household chores. Using the energy built up from your workout will help you get more done in addition to the quality NEAT™ time.
  • Take some extra time to tend to your garden every few days. Not only will you get some great NEAT™ time, you'll also have the nicest yard on the block!
  • Plant a vegetable garden. This is a double win as caring for it involves NEAT™ activity, plus you'll get the added benefit of fresh vegetables just steps away.
  • Wash your car by hand in the summer and get some Vitamin D while you're at it.
  • When taking a phone call go for a walk as opposed to sitting still or couch surfing.

Being purposeful about physical activity and exercise results in great health benefits. The NEAT™ program, developed by the Mayo Clinic, reminds us that anytime is a good time to get moving.

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