Saturday, September 24, 2011

N.E.A.T = Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis

Here is a very interesting video on NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) by James Levine, MD, PhD of the Mayo Clinic . Dr Levine is an expert in obesity and a leader in developing practical weight loss solutions. I am currently reading his book Move a Little, Lose a Lot (Three Rivers Press, 2009).

Here is an interesting quote taken from Dr. Levine's book: "As a doctor who has spent more than 20 years studying human movement, obesity, and metabolism, I can tell you that the way we are living and the way many of us are going about weight loss is absolutely, fundamentally wrong." Like a growing number of researchers, Dr. Levine thinks one of the keys is to move more throughout the day - more than just what your getting during your exercise session. If you expend  say 300-500 calories in a typical session and you're doing that three times a week - this great because you're still getting a lot of health benefits including loading your bones and strengthening your muscles. But if you're looking for weight loss do the math. Those 900-1500 calories you may typically expend over the course of the week, may have worked in terms of keeping your weight in check during your 20's or 30's (because you were probably more active overall) but it's a whole different story if you're one of the 77 million baby boomers, many of whom are battling with body weight issues. You need to be more active - on a daily basis - in addition to the exercise you get...especially if you know you're consuming too many calories. A good first step, in my opinion, is to wear a pedometer and record how many steps you're getting over the course of a day. Next, try to add 2,000 steps to that number over the next few weeks. Then build up to 7-8,000 a day with a long term goal of 10,000 steps/day (5 miles).

Here is a second quote from Dr. Levine's book: "Our current obesity and related health woes stem from the fact that modern life in the Internet-driven electronic age has increasingly leeched NEAT from our existence to the tune of up to 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day. And the loss is sucking the life out of us."

If you combine the calories that he mentions that most are not getting (1,500 to 2,000) with your calories that you expend on the days you exercise, you would begin to witness more of a shift in body composition. Notice we have not even mentioned diet yet.

Daily NEAT + Weekly Exercise = Changes in Body Composition. Now that is a nice NEAT exercise prescription for you.

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