There is a concept associated with exercise that goes by the acronym NEAT. It stands for Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis and refers to the activity we get throughout the day without actively exercising. Research has shown that those who get more ‘non-exercise’ activity are healthier (and live longer) than those who get less. Out of NEAT comes the idea of sitting no longer than 2-hours before getting up and moving, and the health detriment associated with sitting inactive for longer periods of time. We know from an activity standpoint the more we move AND the more often we move, the greater the benefits. It doesn’t have to be “exercise”. You don’t need a fancy activity device, expensive running shoes or a spiffy matching exercise outfit.
Interestingly, eating has the same sort of effect, but with a much different outcome. Most of us call the mindless eating we do throughout the day ‘grazing’. We also often justify doing it with the thought that we are keeping our blood sugar level consistent. What we are really doing is adding calories to a diet that doesn’t require them. That’s not a good thing, but we hardly even notice it until our clothes start to fit a little snugger or we can no longer fit into our favorite jeans. A mindless grazing habit that adds only 150 calories per day to your intake will translate into approximately 15-pounds of weight gain in a year. We all know how difficult it is to lose 15 pounds. Reconsider that NEAT principle, especially with the coming holidays and the ever-presence of food!
When it comes to improved health, both concepts are important. Move as much and as often as you can and eat only when you are hungry. Neither concept is new but in practice, they both lead to improved health and better fitting clothes!
Vice President of Health and Wellness