If you believed staying fit is all about pumping iron, pause right there! What if we told you simple everyday activities like pottering in the garden, moving about in your home, and even fidgeting (yes, twitchy legs!) could help you on that fitness journey.
The magic ingredient behind all this effortless calorie burning – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT.
Know Your NEAT
NEAT is the energy we spend on things like standing, walking, or doing household chores – basically, anything excluding eating, sleeping, and exercise. All these normal daily activities contribute to NEAT and burn calories – but some actions more than others. That means NEAT is higher for someone who’s on the move a lot or has an active job. For the rest of us who stay put at a desk job, NEAT will be lower.
So, the trick is to not just exercise once daily but also stay active the remainder of the day. As one study found, just 6 hours of standing instead of sitting each day can accelerate your weight-loss efforts. So, if an adult weighing 65 kg replaced about 6 hours of sitting with standing daily, they’d burn 54 calories more than someone who’s sedentary.
By reducing the amount of time you are sedentary or sitting, you also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes.
Max Your NEAT
The best part of increasing your NEAT is that you don’t even have to carve out extra time from your schedule to do it. Add a few simple activities to your day and start seeing results.
- Skip the lift and take the stairs even if it’s up to the third floor. If that gets easy, try two steps at a time to get your heart beating a bit faster.
- Get a standing desk. If you can’t do that at work, stack up some books and alternate between sitting and standing. Not only will it burn those extra calories, but it will also help your posture.
- Take a short walk after every meal – it’ll help steady your blood sugar levels
- Take breaks during your day to move about. If you tend to get caught up in the whirlwind of work easily, set an alarm reminding you to take a break. Go for a walk or even stand out on the balcony for 5–10 minutes for every hour that you sit.
- Don’t put off doing your own chores. Do the dishes, vacuum, mop, or wash your clothes to keep yourself moving.
- Give online shopping a break. Walk up to a store to pick up daily essentials instead of ordering them online all the time. Just visualize that shopping bag helping you burn calories!
- Ditch the car and use public transport. If your workplace is close enough, try cycling or walking instead.
- Every time you take a phone call, get off the chair. Pace up and down through the length of the call and you tuck in a mini-workout!
- And don’t listen to your mom – fidget and shake those legs under the desk as much as you’d like!
Maximize your NEAT, add in exercise and a healthy diet plan and you are well on your way to hitting that ideal weight. You’ll also do your heart a big favor, so keep up the NEAT!