The Impact of NEAT: The Perfect Complement To Keto

If you’re following a Keto diet, it's likely you want to improve your health one way or another. Perhaps you wish to lose weight, or maybe you want to balance blood sugars, it may be that you want to improve your metabolism and get fit. It could be all three!

Keto has been shown to improve blood sugar balance and significantly help weight loss. No doubt you’re aware that to further improve your health, exercise is key. Yet a Keto diet can make high-intensity workouts particularly gruelling, and maybe you just aren’t in the place yet to hit the ground running.

We have some great news for you, regular everyday activities are their own type of exercise - NEAT aka Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT could be the activity answer you’re looking for; a perfect partner for your Keto lifestyle, to enhance your results and feel fantastic. Sounds too good to be true? We have all the incredible info right here.

What Is NEAT?

As already mentioned, NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis; but that’s a mouthful that doesn’t mean much. Essentially NEAT is all the everyday activities you carry out aside from sports exercise, sleeping or eating. It can cover everything from hoovering and cooking, to playing with your kids at the park.

Further examples include:

  • Walking
  • Shopping
  • Gardening
  • Washing car
  • Standing at desk
  • Cleaning

How Can NEAT Help Your Keto Goals?

One of the key ways you can improve your weight loss and fitness goals is by creating a calorie deficit and increasing your physical activity.  When you spend more calories than you consume, your body will begin to lose weight. If you increase your physical activity this balance can become easier to achieve.  Additionally, increasing your activity levels will improve your fitness and strength.

For Newcomers

Not everyone who begins Keto is in a position to exercise; perhaps you don’t have the fitness or ability to train. It’s also true that Keto can make high-intensity training particularly difficult to sustain, since your body will be fuelled steadily with fat rather than with surges of glucose from carbs.

NEAT can be the perfect solution; you can start wherever you’re at with your stamina and physical ability. You can begin slowly and gradually build your fitness levels. You could even start as small as fidgeting at your desk, or going for a slow stroll. 

Consistently partaking in NEAT activities will increase your calorie deficit, your metabolic rate, and your fitness ability  - so you can see steady improvements with your weight loss and health, whatever your fitness level.

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For Enthusiasts

Increasing your daily NEAT is also beneficial for those living a more active lifestyle. It can perfectly complement your exercise routine and Keto diet, especially if you find it difficult to squeeze workouts into your schedule. Increasing your NEAT is also a great way to increase blood flow to your muscles post-workout which can help speed up muscle repair and recovery.

Everyday activities such as walking to work rather than driving, climbing the stairs rather than taking the lift, or standing instead of sitting at your desk; all count and contribute to calorie burning. An hour of hoovering is equivalent to around 20 minutes of jogging. An hour spent washing and polishing your car burns the same amount of calories as 45 minutes of swimming!

With these numbers it’s easy to see how NEAT can considerably up your calorie deficit, help you lose weight, and increase your fitness levels at a comfortable and progressive pace.

Easy Ways To Increase NEAT

You may be wondering how much NEAT you should have in your day. The answer really depends on your health and commitments. 

If you currently live a sedentary lifestyle; fewer than 5000 steps or 30 mins of walking per day, then building on what you currently do will be your first goal. A brilliant way to monitor your progress is to use a pedometer - they’re cheap and tell you with every step you take how much you’re moving each day. 

This will give you your average step count, from which you can set new goals. If you currently do less than 5000, try to increase it to 5000 every day. If you’re managing more, see if you can gradually increase your average.

Some other great ways to increase your NEAT include:

Mindful Walks

Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, taking a mindful walk at your preferred time of day can bring you better mental and physical health. You could choose a favourite spot in nature, or simply take a stroll in your local neighbourhood.

Take in the sights, sounds and smells; consider this valuable time for yourself to unwind and process the beginning or end of your day. Not only will this likely reduce your stress levels but you’ll be increasing your NEAT too.

Use ‘Empty’ Time

There are many moments throughout our day where we find ourselves waiting in some capacity. It may be while the kettle boils, or whilst we wait to pick up kids from a class, or perhaps waiting on a call. These are all little moments that you can easily make use of to incorporate more NEAT into your day.

Consider putting away dishes or folding washing while the kettle boils. Pace while you’re on a phone call. Fidget or tap your feet while you wait for your kids.  Replace social media scrolling with some gentle stretches. These simple actions may seem insignificant, you could already be doing them without realising - but they all contribute to NEAT and make a big difference to your calorie count.

Layer Activities

Similarly, you may have multiple jobs or activities to fit into your week and adding an extra to-do may seem impossible. That’s the advantage of NEAT - you can effortlessly introduce it into your regular schedule.

Want to catch up with a friend? Ask if they would like to take a walk ‘n’ talk, many people find it easier to listen and chat while they’re moving anyway, so it may well improve your conversation and connection too!

Do you have countless chores to complete? Great news - you’re also exercising and burning plenty of calories whilst you get them ticked off. You can enjoy a clean and organised space while also knowing you’ve increased your stamina and metabolism through NEAT.

Is NEAT Enough?

It’s hard to believe these small and easy changes to your routine can really be enough to improve your fitness and help you reach your Keto targets. Is NEAT really enough on its own?

The time you spend exercising has been shown to have a marginal impact on your ‘total daily energy expenditure’ (TDEE), compared to NEAT. An hour workout only counts for a small portion of your day, comparatively NEAT activities fill in all the other tidbits of time throughout the rest of your day. 

Consistent NEAT activities can far outdo formal exercise when it comes to calories thanks to its frequency and accessibility.

Crucially, NEAT activities have also been found to improve the benefits of training sessions through muscle repair and recovery, as well as maintaining good metabolic rates post-workout.  In fact, a study conducted in 2019 concluded that low levels of NEAT can actually counteract the metabolic improvements and benefits that would usually occur following exercise.

Essentially, it seems NEAT is not only enough on its own to improve your calorie expenditure and fitness, but it’s also beneficial if not essential to maintain the improvements of any other form of exercise.  If you want to benefit as much as possible from your workout sessions - NEAT activities could do the trick.

NEAT For Everyone

In summary, NEAT is simple, easy and accessible to anyone who wishes to lose weight and improve their fitness. It doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at; NEAT can be the ideal stepping stone to a more active lifestyle and improved health.

NEAT activities can be as accessible as fidgeting in your chair, so that even those with the most sedentary lifestyle can start to improve their fitness levels. Combined with a Keto eating plan, significant improvements can be made with weight loss.

For those already able to endure more intense workouts, NEAT has been found to improve recovery and metabolic rates post-workout, so you can receive the most benefit from your hard work.

A Keto lifestyle is perfectly complemented by NEAT; its low-intensity activities are well suited to the slow and steady energy release provided by a Keto diet.  NEAT seems to be the epitome of, ‘little things making big things happen’.

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