Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT describes the calories that we burn through everyday activities that are not a planned sport or exercise. For example, cooking, cleaning, standing, or even fidgeting.
NEAT can make a massive impact on our calorie burn for that day; “long-term weight control may be easier to maintain by focusing […] more on increasing NEAT” (Levine et al., 1999).
Calorie burn through NEAT will vary from person. For example, a labourer will burn more through NEAT than a desk-based office worker. Increasing NEAT has been linked to weight maintenance. An article from the Mayo Clinic stated that “by avoiding sitting, promoting motion, and engaging in simple, repetitive, and creative activities, a significant amount of extra calories may be expended.” (Villablanca et al., 2015)