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In today’s largely sedentary society, having a diet and exercise plan is important. From watching what you eat to trying a lose weight boot camp approach, there seems to be no end to the many ways to get in shape and lead a more healthful life.

However, there are additional ways to improve your overall health and wellness beyond a diet and exercise plan. One theory that is gaining popularity among many health specialists is the concept of NEAT activity. Learning more about NEAT activity and how to increase it can help you improve your health and wellness in a way that may be new to you.

What is NEAT?
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is energy burned in movement, even movement that isn’t intended as exercise. This can include things such everyday things as walking, tapping your toes, fidgeting, cleaning and similar types of movement.

Some experts believe an increased reliance on computers and other technology means a drop in NEAT activity on a daily basis, unless a concerted effort is made. Being intentional about engaging in NEAT activities can be an important tool in your wellness routines.

Health Benefits
If you eat just 30 more calories than you burn each day, over the course of a year you will gain 2 to 3 pounds. These pounds can add up over the years. But engaging in just a small amount of extra NEAT activity can put a big dent in the calories you take in each day.

In addition to helping you maintain your weight, or even lose it, there are other health benefits to NEAT activity as well. You can improve overall fitness and health through extra activity. This is can be especially important for improving heart health and for those who may not be healthy enough to partake in traditional workouts.

Getting “NEAT”
There are a number of ways of increasing NEAT activity. The first goal is to find ways to add steps to your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little farther out from the store, or make an effort to get up and grab a glass of water once every hour.

Another strategy is to find new ways to move while you’re working. Perhaps sitting on a balance ball or working from a stand-up desk can add calorie-burning motion throughout the day. Finally, do not be afraid to fidget! Every turn, tap and twist counts.

Even if you get plenty of “regular” exercise, you could still be putting yourself at risk for obesity and obesity-related health issues if you sit for many hours every day at work or at home. Do not let weight creep up on you—add a little more movement to your day and you’ll combat those creeping pounds.

While you may have to make a concerted effort to increase NEAT activity, it’s not that difficult once you get started. Make a few small changes and you’ll see big changes in your health over the long run.