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Up Your Activity with NEAT!

Having a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating the right stuff and going to a few fitness classes each week, it’s about how we move and look after ourselves during the rest of the time.

It’s not easy, with family and work pressures. When we had our liberties removed at the start of the pandemic, people were determined to get out and walk for their hour a day, it became really important to have some fresh air and exercise, but as freedoms returned so did other demands on our time and activity during the second lockdown reduced apparently.

Did you know there’s a scientific term for the activity we do that isn’t structured exercise, it’s called NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis – catchy huh?!

What is NEAT?

This is the energy we expend whilst doing ‘normal’ daily stuff, like climbing stairs, housework, walking to the shops (and back with shopping bags), going to the park with children, etc. Even little movements like fidgeting burn calories.

The amount of energy used for NEAT activities varies between people depending on their size, the environment and how active their job is, so two very similar people could burn quite different amounts of calories doing the same task. It’s also been shown that people with more NEAT in their lives suffer less from cardiovascular issues.

Be more NEAT!

I’m making it a goal for the next few months to be more NEAT! Here are some of the simple ways we can improve our NEAT activities.

1. Stand up – people who stand up to work rather than sit down can burn an extra 72 calories per hour, that’s 18,000 calories per year! If you can’t get a standing desk, sitting on a stability ball is also good as you’re constantly adjusting your position to stay balanced.

2. Tap your feet – if you’re in a queue at the supermarket or the bus stop, tap your foot or bob your head to help your body take advantage of NEAT.

3. Take the stairs – instead of the lift or escalator, walk up the stairs if you can. This also contributes to your daily step count.

4. Walk shorter journeys – we’re all guilty of jumping in the car for a quick trip to the shops when, with a bit of planning ahead, it would be so beneficial to walk. Walking or cycling burns significant energy and increases your NEAT.

5. Cooking – once you’ve walked to the shop to buy the ingredients for your meal, the act of cooking it (chopping, stirring, grating, etc.) has lots of small NEAT movements.

6. Cleaning with vigour – all those chores around the house that get you slightly out of breath are excellent forms of NEAT. It might not be much fun, but put on some music and dance while vacuuming!

7. Playtime – playing with children or grandchildren, at the park, kicking a ball in the garden, a bounce on the trampoline, is marvellous for building up NEAT credits.

These are all small efforts that can make a big difference, plus they are often things that you do anyway that you just need to think about the NEAT you’re adding to your day. It’s not a replacement for your exercise classes, they’re still important, but it complements your fitness and makes the exercise you do with Gemma Pearce Fitness count even more.

Want to join an online class or find your favourite in Abingdon or around Didcot? Check out

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