The Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT is a scientifically proven way of losing weight without stepping into the gym. It does sound a bit out there, but it really boils down to how much you move around during the day. Read on and find out how you can maximize your results, not only at the gym, but also outside of it.
How many times have you or someone you know, when discussing weight loss, complained about a slow metabolism? I’ve heard the all-too-common “just looking at food will make me gain weight” many times. Yes, many people do have endocrine problems that make weight loss harder. But, the vast majority of people who complain about the slow metabolism issue don’t have a metabolism problem at all!
It’s the movement problem. Lack thereof, that is.
Skipping a walk to work in favour of transit, sitting for hours at a work desk without budging and coming home to plunk ourselves on the couch in front of the TV may sound common. Maybe an hour-long workout thrown into the mix. We live in times of great convenience and luxury and that makes us less mobile. We all have a car or access to public transportation that requires very little of our own energy to get around. When it comes to overall health and fat loss goals, just making it to the gym is not enough daily movement.
Consider this: the average calories burned during an hour of intentional exercise can burn 300-350 calories for every 100lbs of body weight. (This is an average but everyone will differ based on unique factors such as lean body mass, metabolic rate, etc.) Then consider that most of us aren’t engaging in a solid hour of nonstop exercise for an hour a day. It’s not typical. So how do we maximize our efforts to achieve our fitness goals… without putting in too much effort?
In Comes the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – NEAT Way of Losing Weight
Simply moving more and sitting less outside of working out can boost your health and calorie burning through a mechanism called NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
The National Institute of Health states NEAT as all the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise, including walking to work, typing, fidgeting at your desk, performing yard work, or dancing to your favourite song while you cook dinner. Even everyday physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and has a cumulative impact. It is, therefore, not surprising that NEAT explains a vast majority of an individual’s non-resting energy needs.
All this means that we simply need to get into a habit of moving as much as possible. If you are already using the Body Beautiful App, it’s easy for you to stay active. The more you move, the more you show your body that it’s OK to burn calories for energy, instead of hoarding it them. The more you do that, the easier it becomes for it to burn more and more energy! Get it? But of course, one thing is to acknowledge the simplicity of it and a whole another issue is to actually to start taking stairs, instead of elevator, biking to work, instead of taking a streetcar and going for a walk before and/or after work, instead of Netflix and chill…
7 Ways to Boost Your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
As simple as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis may sound, in reality it may represent a real challenge. Not because it’s really hard, but because you will need form certain habits to throughout the day, and for some it may mean that they would need to change the way they live their entire the daily lives. To help you get into it, follow the 7 steps below to get you moving on a constant basis!
- Set an alarm to move – If you have a desk job, set alarms to train yourself to just get up more. Getting up hourly and walking to the restroom, getting a refill of water or standing up to stretch can decrease stiffness, boost energy and burn calories. Also, when watching TV, during every commercial break get up and move. Do a few stretches, walk around the house…
- Get a pedometer – To gauge how much moving you currently do and then motivate yourself to do more. Wear it all the time to track both at-work and at-home exercises. Find creative ways to increase steps every day. Park at the far end of the parking lot or get off the subway or bus a stop early. Extra steps add up to significant calories over time. If you already have a FitBit, you can connect it to the Body Beautiful App to keep on top of it!
- Pace and fidget – You probably try to avoid both of these moves to keep from looking irritable or nervous, but they’re easy exercises for weight loss. Pacing rather than standing still and fidgeting rather than sitting still will burn more calories. Pace when talking on the phone. Try standing up and stretching every time you hit ‘send’ on an e-mail.
- Take the stairs – If you want easy exercises for weight loss that really pay dividends, take the stairs whenever possible. Climbing stairs is a great way to burn calories and strengthen your legs.
- Dance while you cook or clean – This is my personal favourite. Cooking and cleaning are at-home exercise that we all have to do — you might hate it, but it’s NEAT at its finest! A good inspirational tune can add some extra pep to your step perform tasks around the apartment or house. The music, along with the joy dancing freely generally brings, can cause the brain to signal the release of happy hormones, creating emotional benefits while you torch calories.
- Carry your groceries – Combine strength training and errands on your next trip to the store: If you live within walking distance of your market, see whether you can carry groceries in your arms rather than a cart. If you have to drive, turn unloading the car into an at-home exercise, and add a few bicep curls every time you lift a bag out of the trunk.
- Turn waiting in line into exercise – Whether at the grocery store or the movies, waiting in line can turn into some easy exercises for weight loss. Stand on one leg or step side to side when waiting for an elevator, a bus or a train.
Track your activity and schedule it into your Body Beautiful App, so that you know exactly how much you move and how many calories you burn.