Being fit is something most of us want to achieve but it’s almost impossible to fit it within our already packed schedules.
Going to the gym is not just about the time you will spend working out, it also means the time it will take to reach there, take a shower, etc. So most of us just decide that working out will not work out and go back to our comfortable, inactive routines. But who says that burning calories has to be that high effort?
Something most people overlook is the extra ways they can burn calories during their normal routine. Enter Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which is a super-easy way to boost your metabolism and burn extra calories without making drastic changes to your lifestyle. Sounds too good to be true? It’s quite simple and scientific, actually.
What Is NEAT?
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy burned daily from movements other than sleeping, eating, or exercise. It could mean things like fidgeting, standing, or just moving about.
The Role NEAT Plays in Losing Weight
Your body burns calories even while you are sitting at your work desk. So even if you spend the entire workday sitting, you will still have burned some calories by the end of the day. But if you started to work at a standing desk instead of sitting at one, your body will be automatically burning more calories every day. Even something as insignificant as walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing them will burn more calories.
Now imagine if you were to introduce small changes like these into your routine – together they would add up to a significant amount of calories burned per month. A study from 2012 showed that even among sedentary people, the ones who tended to move around more were leaner than ones who stayed stationary because they ended up burning more calories overall.
Another study from the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that even when people were fed the same diet, there was still a difference in the number of calories burned via NEAT – the difference they observed was up to 800 calories!
6 Ways to Increase Your NEAT
So how can you increase your NEAT? There are many ways to do that depending on your current lifestyle and how easy it is to add these in:
Stand when you can
This is pretty simple, any time you can stand instead of sitting, do it. Standing burns more calories than sitting (186 calories vs. 139 calories) and over time this difference adds up.
Take the stairs
The next time you’re about to get into an elevator or an escalator, take the stairs instead.
Clean like your fitness depends on it
Doing chores around the house is a great way to elevate your NEAT. Go do the things you’ve been putting off, not only will you have a sparkling house but also burn a lot more calories. It’s a win-win!
Move as you’ve never moved before
Add more movement into things you already do. Talking on the phone? Walk while you talk. Watching TV? Use that time to stretch. Tidying up? Put on some music and dance while you do it. It’s easy to spice up your routine with some calorie-burning moves.
Play with your kids
If you have kids, get more involved during their playtime. Not only will this contribute to your NEAT but they’ll love spending time with you.
Add gardening to your list of to-dos. It can look deceptively relaxing while also burning a lot of calories.
If losing weight is your objective then increasing your NEAT is a crucial part of that journey because it’s the small changes that lead to success. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, and every small change in the right direction counts.
For more on the changing arena of fitness and exercise, don’t miss out on India’s Evolving Fitness Landscape