We’re all looking for new life hacks, especially ones that make it easier to burn calories and improve our health. Wouldn’t it be great to burn extra calories with minimal effort? That’s exactly what Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT for short) is.
What is NEAT?
NEAT is a fancy term for adding up all the calories you burn outside of exercise, playing sports, eating or sleeping (Yes, eating and sleeping burn calories – woohoo!). You’re racking up NEAT calories all day from walking around, gardening, hauling groceries, fidgeting your leg during meetings, putting together IKEA furniture, standing in line, and much more. Generally, we don’t think about the impact these activities have on burning calories because they don’t feel like work, but they can actually burn quite a few calories.
What to Know about NEAT
Most workouts burn 300-1000 calories, but it’s been documented that people can burn up to 2,000 calories a day with NEAT. This means you have the opportunity to burn more calories by staying busy throughout the day than exercising 3-4 days per week. While this isn’t a replacement for the benefits of exercise, especially strength training, it’s a difference-maker for many.
NEAT is one of the best ways someone who is just getting into exercise can start burning more calories without overdoing it, or an experienced exerciser can get that edge to take them to the next level.
Here are 5 Ways to Improve Your NEAT Regime and Results
- Workplace Micro Breaks
Some jobs are inherently more active, like being a server or working construction. Odds are though, you’re spending a substantial amount of time sitting at a desk all day. If that’s the case for you, there’s bad news and great news. The bad news is that you’re burning calories at a sloth’s pace, the great news is that this is a great opportunity to increase your NEAT.
You can burn more calories daily, even with a desk job. The best thing you can do is plan breaks to get up and walk around. Let’s be real, we can all spare 3 minutes every hour to walk around and stretch our legs instead of getting sucked into a catchy headline on a news site. Set a reminder to get up and take a lap around the office once each hour and fill your water up on the way (more bathroom breaks means more NEAT). This takes you from virtually zero minutes of NEAT to over 30 minutes! That’s a couple hundred more calories burned without breaking a sweat.
- Stand Up for Your NEAT
Sitting restricts blood flow, turns off your core and makes it much more likely that you will continue to sit throughout the day. Switching to a standing desk is the solution for all of that. Standing leads to deeper breaths, more movement, and makes you much more likely to walk around and move more. A recent study by NASM found that on average, a 145-pound man burns about 100 calories per hour sitting and 170 calories per hour standing. Over the course of a year, that’s the amount of calories it takes to burn about 5 pounds of fat.
- Walk and Talk
For those of us who still use a phone to make calls (that’s so early 2000s, we know!) it can be an easy way to get more movement in. Now that phones are no longer wired to a wall, it means we can walk and talk. Having walking meetings or walking phone calls can add tons of steps to your day. This is a favorite NEAT method for Kanye West and Halle Berry’s celebrity trainer, Harley Pasternak. If it works for them, trust us, it will work for you.
- Clean Up
Here’s a fun fact to make your chores more enjoyable: cleaning up is raising your NEAT. The more you move, the more you burn. Sweeping, mopping, picking up toys, washing dishes – none of it seems glamorous but it absolutely adds to your daily calorie burn. While you might not start your own cleaning service to burn calories, you can at least sleep easy knowing that your spring cleaning burned as many calories as a workout.
- Find a New Hobby
Netflix and TV marathons unfortunately do not count as a hobby. While the title of “Binge Worthy TV Critic” sounds fancy, it simply means you’re only burning 30 calories an hour kicked back in your recliner. Virtually any hobby burns more calories than watching TV, like building model airplanes, knitting, puzzles or even making your own furniture. If you’re really into show-binging, you can still watch TV while doing most other hobbies – it’s a win-win!
Adding to Daily Calorie Burn at the Gym
While NEAT is, well, a neat way to burn some extra calories, those who are looking for greater results can take advantage of our 30 minute express workout cricut. The circuit is designed for a full body workout in only 30 minutes. Visit your nearest Youfit location to get started!