Spontaneous non-exercise activity
When it comes to movement as a form of burning calories, there are two main categories we look at: planned exercise – that is e.g. going for a run or going to the gym – and spontaneous non-exercise activities – that is any other movement not classified as exercise, e.g. walking to the shop or cleaning the house.
Another term used for the spontaneous non-exercise activity is NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This term is used when calculating the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). TDEE is a value which can help you understand what amount of calories you should be eating to lose, gain or maintain your weight.
Back to the subject at question: did you know that NEAT can can play a big part in helping you maximize the total amount of calories burned in a single day? Some studies show that it can account as much as 60% of your total calorie expenditure (compared to 1h workout accounting to only 6%!).
For those with an active job, NEAT might already be quite high but if you’re sat down at the computer a lot, you may want to incorporate more unstructured activity into your day. It’s easy!
5 simple ways to increase your spontaneous daily activity:
- Park your car at the far end of the car park every time you go shopping.
- If you commute by public transport, get off one stop early and walk.
- Pace the room when talking on the phone.
- Video-conferencing? When you’re not talking, why not walk around the room while you’re listening?
- Plan short breaks throughout your working day (ideally every hour) where you’ll simply walk around the flat/office, do a stretch.
You may also be surprised how many calories can be burned in simple activities you do during the day!
Hoovering: 270 kcal/h
Light cleaning: 210 kcal/h
Walking the dog: 210 kcal/h
Gardening: 300 kcal/h