If you miss the bus and have to walk or lug clothes to the laundromat, don’t brag about it to anyone like you would on a bike ride or 3 mile run. But you may not know that these activities and tasks are actually training. And there’s even a name for this covert physical activity: non-physical thermogenesis, or NEAT!
It covers a wide range of things from walking the dog to washing up to cleaning up the garage. And it all counts as exercise and burns calories. One study found, “Activities that generate movement increase the amount of calories burned.” The focus in fitness is often on high-intensity workouts, and while workouts that increase your heart rate are important, NEAT is also beneficial. And it’s easy to incorporate more of this overlooked form of exercise into our routines, which is especially helpful for those who never set foot in a gym or touch a treadmill.
There is a saying in the fitness world, “The best exercise is the one you do” and that definitely applies to NEAT. Staying active during the day is easier to achieve if you think of it in terms of “background exercises”.
You probably already do many of these forms of NEAT that burn more than 100 calories an hour, and they all add up:
● Clear out the storage room / garage
● Grocery shopping
● Sweeping or vacuuming
● Climbing stairs
● Push the stroller
● Play fetch with the dog
● Gardening or weeding
● Wash the car
● Walk to work
● Watching TV on a stationary bike