Published on July 5th, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
7 NEAT tips to change your life!
NEAT aka Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis – and this is the energy that we use for everything that we do that’s not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise.
And it would seem that our NEAT has decreased as our calorie intake has increased!
Nowadays many of us have to really think about how to incorporate any form of exercise into our lives, both formal exercise activities and NEAT! Adults and children alike have decreased their non-formal exercise exponentially. Many people have sedentary jobs, automation is increasing and it is customary to drive to and from work. Children are nannied and chaperoned throughout childhood, with their levels of NEAT eroded by understandable parental concerns about road traffic accidents and abduction. And there are many seductive technological alternatives to simple outdoor active play.
We can’t turn back the clock to a more organically active era, but we can take ideas from the past and come up with new creative solutions to improve our NEAT nowadays!
Here are my 7 neat tips to increase your NEAT!
1) Grow Your Own Food
If you are lucky enough to have a garden or allotment, make growing food a priority. You can do it alone or as a family, and you have a 2 for the price of 1 situation where you get organically grown food at minimal cost alongside the NEAT! Take it slowly slowly if you are new to digging!
If you are doing this with children, giving them their own patch and letting them grow what they want to will help to enthuse them! Another added benefit is that they will want to try vegetables when they have been involved in growing them.
No access to a garden? See if you can find a neighbour, perhaps elderly, who can’t manage their garden – then offer an exchange of labour for 50% of the produce you grow using their garden. A win / win situation!
In my own distant childhood, my friend’s Dad used to pay us all to weed the garden – 1p/bucket! With a very physically demanding job, he was grateful for the help and not only did it weed the huge vegetable garden it kept about half a dozen children busy for a whole Sunday afternoon whilst he was able to catch up with some sleep! He had absolutely no need of any extra NEAT himself!
2) Walk to work and/or school
Dr Krista Varady of “The Every Other Day Diet” fame, chooses to get off the train at a stop 2 miles from her university and to walk both ways each day! That’s about 8,000 steps – only 2 thousand short of the recommended 10,000 per day. The extra 2000 would easily be taken up by general activity both at work and home.
This is an easy solution, mostly cost and risk free, and could be adapted into many people’s lives with a bit of organisation.
3) Walk in your lunch break
Depends a bit on the climate you live in and the area you work, but bringing a packed lunch and leaving the building to eat following a walk round the park or neighbourhood is another simple way to bring 3 helpful elements into your life – healthy food, light to the brain and some NEAT activity!
Work from home? Take a formal active lunch break, go for a walk and eat something healthy!
4) Take the stairs
Rather than using the elevator, walk to destinations if you are in an office building. And deliver messages in person rather than email across the room! Every little helps!
5) Drink 2 Litres of water daily
Not only will this provide you with the benefits of hydration, you’ll have the benefit of having to get up out of your chair to go to the bathroom!
6) Make family time active
Rather than sitting slumped in front of the TV en famille in the evening, go to the park or playground.
Or, if the weather is too unforgiving, play active games on things like an XBox or Wii. This is now one of our family favourites, especially at Christmas, and my kids are all grown ups!
And/or find activities that appeal to the whole family and do physically active stuff regularly – could be anything from hiking to cycling, to winter sports in a Snow-dome or swimming in anything from a municipal pool to a water park
At the weekend or in the holidays choose stuff that keeps everyone moving! One relatively inexpensive way to do this for me is an annual membership to the local theme park and its accompanying indoor water park! Cheaper than gym memberships and a lot more fun for children!
Take a picnic so you don’t ruin your efforts with the inevitable accompanying fast food temptations!
7) Choose active vacations
There are all sorts of fancy expensive organised holidays that you can do that are naturally very active, from a winter sports holiday to sailing or to a purpose built holiday centre like Centre Parks in the UK. But even camping by a beach will keep everyone active, and is a fabulous inexpensive solution for children.
And finally, make it fun! Whatever you do to increase your NEAT activity, try and always make it fun, or at least something you don’t mind doing until it’s fully established as a habit!