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N.E.A.T.

N.E.A.T. is not really that neat. It has contributed the expansion of waistlines everywhere. N.E.A.T. stands for Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. If you’re reading this article sitting down at your computer you have burned less calories than you would have if you had to go get the newspaper from your mailbox. That is an example of what is going on in our society. We have invented ourselves into poor health.

Thanks to what is seen as increased efficiency we are moving less. Of course that saves time, and time is money so we are therefore improving the cashflow at some level. What we are not doing is cutting back on the calories that we are consuming based on this reduction of movement. That results in weight gain.

I first read about the N.E.A.T principle years ago. At that very moment I was working in my home office on the second floor of the house. I needed paper for the printer and the paper was in the basement. I was craving a cup of coffee that was in the kitchen on the main floor, and it was almost time to let the dog out. My thought process was I would do it all once. I would start the coffee, let the dog out, get the paper, let the dog in, pour the coffee and head back to the office. Or, for the extra 2 – 3 minutes it would cost, I could get the paper, and take it to the office. Then I could let the dog in and out. Then I could get myself coffee. That would have been 3 trips up and down the stairs instead of one. In addition to burning more calories, I would have gained the benefits from moving my body more.

Now I try to build this thought process into everything I do. Gone are the days of getting up to change the channel on the TV, or having to answer the phone that is attached to a wall somewhere in the house. It doesn’t take too much effort to burn an extra 200 calories a day by moving more. Some ideas are:

• Stand more often. You can do this when you’re talking or searching for something on the phone.
• Track your steps or just ensure you take more of them. You may be able to carry all of the groceries into the house in one load, but maybe two tips would be a good idea.
• Dance! Put on your favourite music when you cooking and move more.
• Play more. Kick a ball around with your kids or chase your dog.

If losing weight is on your radar these days, more movement will help you get there sooner. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. If you increase your movement so that you burn 250 calories more in days and then you reduce your daily intake by 250 calories per day, you will lose a pound a week. The math works perfectly.

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