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The role of NEAT in the resistance to fat gain!

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

I think it goes without saying that during this period of staying at home most of us are concerned about gaining fat. For many, our daily routine has gone completely out the window, we have constant access to food (which we may or may not have been bulk buying 😂) and a lot more time on our hands. LETHAL COMBINATION!

I am hoping this article inspires you to be as active as you can, so that you can minimise fat gain and return to the gym in the same shape you left.


  • activity of daily living - anything that is not planned exercise

  • non volitional muscle contraction (fidgeting, muscle tone, maintenance of posture)

Neat levels can vary dramatically from one person to the next and can account for 15% of daily energy expenditure (calories burned) in sedentary people and up to 50% or more in very active people.


Here’s some data taken from a study showing the average energy expenditure (calories burned per hour). These are average levels and would vary depending on individual body weight.

Resting 77 calories per hour

Sitting motionless 80 calories per hour

Sitting whilst fidgeting 118 calories per hour

Standing motionless 88 calories per hour

Standing whilst fidgeting 148 calories per hour

Walking at 1MPH 197 calories per hour

Walking at 2MPH 235 calories per hour

Walking at 3MPH 304 calories per hour

This shows how much walking around makes a huge contribution to your daily energy expenditure. This also clearly illustrates why people who have a desk job can find it so difficult to lose weight.

If anyone ever tells you to stop fidgeting, don’t listen! The difference in energy expenditure between sitting motionless and sitting fidgeting over an 8 hour period can be 300 calories!

Fidget away!


  • Our PM is allowing us one lot of exercise per day so walk/run/bike for at least one hour

  • If you have done all of the chores and gardening, find more! Housework and gardening are excellent ways of increasing your NEAT levels

  • Whether you are working from home or not, set an alarm for every 30 minutes, walk around the house and garden or walk up and down the stairs

  • Pace whilst on the phone

  • Put on your favourite tunes and bust out some moves (videos of this to be uploaded to the group please)

  • Bedroom aerobics - If you are lucky enough to have a partner then you have a slight advantage here (LOL)

To finalise, get moving guys. Increasing your NEAT will help with minimising fat gain, improve your overall health and enhance your mood.

References: Levine et al (2000)

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