The Hidden Key to Weight Loss is NEAT
When we want to lose inches off our waist, conventional wisdom has us mounting treadmills, traversing the open roads, and whirling from station to station for high-intensity interval training. This is well and good – all of these activities are healthy ways to incinerate calories and torch excess fat. But one of the hidden keys to weight loss is the activity you engage in when you aren’t working out. That's right, we’re talking about NEAT.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy expended for everything other than eating, sleeping and exercise-like activity. In short, NEAT is what you do for most of the time you’re awake, and the more active you are, the more calories you burn and the higher your metabolic rate. According to the Mayo Clinic, NEAT’s daily expenditure varies by as much as 2,000 calories between people of similar bodyweights. So the question is, what do you do for most of the day?
Even if you have a desk job, you don't have to have a low NEAT. Seemingly trivial activities like fidgeting or standing will add to the net result of your total energy expenditure. Here are our tips to boost your NEAT, and go for those extra 2,000 burnable daily calories:
- Walk. Be the best biped you can be and walk to work, to the bus, to the train, to pick up the kids at school, to the coffee shop, to the bar, to the restaurant. The more you simply walk from A to B, the higher your NEAT rises, and the more calories you burn.
- Stand at Your Desk. If you’re a cashier, a teacher, a personal trainer, or an outside salesman, you’re already on the go and are probably fine. But if you have a desk job, working while standing is an incredible NEAT-booster (300-500 more calories burnt). Consider a standing desk for an easy transition.
- Fidget – On Purpose. Sound ridiculous? Maybe so, but such activity boosts your NEAT, so grab a stress ball, a yo-yo, or something else you can use to keep yourself moving, even when you’re not.
- Do Chores. Yes, the bane of domestic existence finally has a selfish purpose – exercise disguised as industry. Instead of hiring a cleaning lady or Chas the neighborhood lawnmower kid, do these activities yourself. Emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen, or toting the trash to the curb all raise your NEAT.
Consider this good news – rather than worry about tripling your time at the gym, you can triple your NEAT through common everyday activities. There are calories out there to burn!