"NEAT" stands for "non-exercise activity thermogenesis," or in other words, how many calories you burn doing stuff other than exercising.
Guess what they found? That the non-exercise movement was a bigger factor in keeping you thin than regular, regimented exercise. "Obese persons sit, on average, 150 minutes more each day than their naturally lean counterparts."
But could that be because they're heavier? The study checked that, too.
For the next phase of the study, the researchers overfed the lean people by 1,000 calories a day to make them gain weight, and underfed the obese people by 1,000 calories a day to replicate an intense diet. Researchers then monitored their movements every half second for 10 days and compared the results. Even after losing weight, the naturally obese group sat more and moved less. And even after gaining weight, the naturally lean group stood, walked and even fidgeted more than the other group.
The moral of the story? Don't sit still. If you are sitting still (like watching TV) do something else at the same time. Iron. Sort laundry. I used to practice card tricks--guess I'll get to again.
I knew a girl who would crochet bandages for a hospital every time she was sitting down anywhere--even at church. It didn't require much thought, so she could still pay attention to what was going on, but she was always doing something.
So fidget your way fit. Wiggle down your weight. Squirm yourself skinny. And when your Mom says, "Can't you sit still?" just say, "Nope. The Mayo clinic said it's good for me."