Let’s be honest, we all wish to avoid putting on unwanted body fat and to be physically fit. Why? Some for aesthetic reasons, others for health reasons. What do we need in order to achieve this goal? A vigorous exercise program and a strict diet plan, right? Not necessarily!
Contrary to popular belief, you can get rid of those undesired pounds without going to the gym and working out intensively and without following a restrictive diet. Maybe you don’t have the time to hit the gym 3-4 times a week, maybe you don’t want to pay for a personal trainer or you simply don’t find that exciting the same training sessions. No matter the reason, it’s important to know that you can still stay in shape without working out. Enter NEAT.
What Is NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and describes the amount of calories we burn just by engaging in normal, day-to-day activities. In other words, it represents the energy we use for other activities than planned exercise, sports, eating or sleeping. These can involve anything from standing and fidgeting to dusting, washing the dishes or playing the guitar.
At first glance it may not seem like much, right? You’re probably wondering, can this actually make a difference and help me lose weight? Well, science says yes. A research conducted by the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation showed that incorporating more movements into your daily activity can help you increase your metabolic rate and burn additional calories. According to another study, increasing your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis can help you maintain your weight over time.
NEAT can actually do more than just burn fat. Another research concluded that, by adding non-exercise physical activity into our daily lives, we can reduce the risk of the metabolic syndrome, of cardiovascular issues and other causes of death.
Ways to Increase your NEAT
If you want to maintain a toned body and don’t really feel like going to the gym, it’s time to incorporate more NEAT into your daily life. Here’s what you can do to increase the amount of calories burned.
Walk More Each Day
Walking is one of the easiest and, at the same time, most rewarding activities. It’s easy to do, it’s free, doesn’t require any special skills and can be done anywhere. Moreover, it’s quite effective when it comes to calorie burn. A 165 lb. (75 kg) adult who will walk for 30 minutes at a 4 mph (6.4 km/h) speed will torch 169 calories.
There are numerous ways you can add more steps to your day. Ditch the car at least once a week. When possible, walk or ride the bike to your destination. Go for a walk after dinner, go walk your dog instead of paying someone else to do it. Need to buy clothes? Don’t order online, go to the mall and walk around. Take a stroll in the park. Go for a weekend hike in nature.
To see how much you’re actually walking, to track your progress and find the motivation to move more and surpass your goals, we recommend downloading a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker. It’s quite simple to use and provides you access to a series of relevant fitness metrics, such as the steps taken, distance covered, calories burned, time spent physically active or floors climbed. You can set your own goals and permanently be updated with the progress made.
More Active at the Office
Even though we don’t like it, we spend a significant amount of time at work. For many of us this is sedentary time. But what if we can change that? What if we can turn that sedentary time into active time? Here’s what you can do to add more NEAT at the office:
- Take the stairs up and down instead of the elevator
- Park further away from the building entrance
- Get off the bus, tram or subway one or two stops early
- Sit less, stand more. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average 170 lb. person burns 134 calories sitting and 206 standing. When possible, opt for a standing desk or have standing meetings.
- Having a personal phone call? Use the opportunity to step out of the office and walk during the call. This way you not only maintain privacy, but also get to incorporate some movement.
- Need to talk to a colleague? Don’t call or email, instead walk to your co-worker’s desk.
- Start a walking challenge at the office. This is a great way to boost physical activity in the workplace and help each other develop healthy habits.
More Active at Home
You can burn calories without exercise also at home. Here are some household chores that will increase your NEAT and help you stay in shape:
- Deep clean your house. This activity will not only provide a healthy and safe environment for you and your family, but it will also help you torch calories. Dusting or polishing the furniture will help a 170 lb. adult burn 187 calories in one hour, mopping the floors – 203 calories, washing the windows – 260, vacuuming – 268, scrubbing the floors, sink and bathtub on your hands and knees – 284.
- Do some yard work. This will not only make your outdoor space look great and ready to entertain guests, but it will additionally help you burn some calories. For instance, according to Mayo clinic, a 185 lb. adult will burn 356 calories in one hour by raking and sacking leaves, 400 calories by mowing the lawn, 410 by weeding and another 400 for general gardening activities.
- Fun activities with your kids. This is a great way to spend some quality time as a family and add some movement as well. The options are numerous: you can play tag with your little ones, jump rope, capture the flag or perhaps build a fort.
As a conclusion, it’s not mandatory to follow a vigorous workout program to stay fit. If you don’t want to sign up for a gym membership, you can try to increase your NEAT throughout the day in order to reach your weight loss goals. Adding as many non-exercise physical activities as possible will help you torch calories and body fat and will also have a positive impact on your overall health.