Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis [NEAT]

Are you NEAT?


What is NEAT?

As humans we were designed to move…

…. yet we have consciously reduced many opportunities to move in our everyday life. There is such a demand on us being efficient, both at work and at home, that we have almost over-engineered and automated every minute of our lives!Let’s take a step back. Even though we have been around for 200 000 years, our bodies have changed very little. Our lives used to involve a lot of activities; hunting, walking, lifting, preparing our food, moving around, carrying stones e.t.c. and we had very few tools to help us. It was very physical and our metabolism was programmed, and still is, to survive according to these circumstances. Today, most of our days look very little like this. Especially for us who work in offices. The Tech development is great and has helped us in so many ways, but it has also reduced the necessity for us to be physically active. untitled image untitled image Of course, I don’t demand you to start hunting to get food on the table, but I encourage you to reflect on how much time of the day you are seated or being still, and how much you move around. How does it look and what could be opportunities to move more?


But I go to the gym 4 times a week!

Set your mind straight!

We can’t however entirely blame our lack of activity level on technology and new habits alone. The fact is that our brain is programmed to be lazy and survive, which has indeed been a great driver for humanity to progress automation. The brain is programmed to maintain homeostasis, making sure we are functioning, and doesn’t want to lose fat. In the beginning of human life, not being careful how you spend your energy could lead to starvation. We know we are not there anymore, but as the brain doesn’t know this, we need to trick it! It is very easy to give in to fatigue, allowing yourself to be lazy and put your feet on the table, but this will only make you more tired and bored. The more you move, and the more you tell yourself that movement is good for you, that mowing the lawn is an opportunity for you to be healthy rather than a task or a chore, the better set are you to do the changes suggested below!


NEAT activities

At home

  • Cleaning, washing dishes

  • Gardening, mowing the lawn, raking leaves

  • Playing with your kids (no video games 😉 )

  • Short walks

  • Get off the bus/metro one stop early

  • DIY projects

At work

  • Walking stairs

  • Standing at your desk, use swiss ball instead of office chair, walking meetings

  • Create a rule of only scheduling 50 minutes meetings and make sure you get a break in-between meetings and tasks and get up and move


What can I expect from being NEATer?

In below chart you can get an indication of burnt calories per activity. The burn rate varies depending on age, gender and weight..
Cleaning 1 hour 300
Walking (slow) 1 hour 200
Gardening (light) 1 hour 175-300
Raking leaves 1 hour 400
Playing with kids (tag, hide and seek, push stroller etc) 1 hour 300
Playing with kids (swing) 1 hour 200
Standing at desk 1 hour 100-200
Sitting on swiss ball 1 hour 110-165

The right food boosts you metabolism!


Eating more protein will increase your metabolic rate!


  • Proteins: eggs, meet, chicken, fish, veg protein powder etc
  • Avoid Simple carbs (fruits, milk, sugar, candy etc.) and also carbs that might cause inflammation if you have stomach issues.
  • Don’t forget the fat! Fat is a very important building block for our cells and hormones and helps us absorb vitamins. It also keeps us full. Just make sure to use good sources!


  • Neat – will increase your metabolic rate


All the best
/Sara Terborn