Did you know? You can burn calories by doing simple tasks (that you probably already perform daily). 

That’s NEAT!

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT) is a complicated way of saying all the calories you burn when you’re not sleeping/resting, digesting, and exercising. 

It includes all kinds of activities such as walking to the mailbox, running errands, cleaning, typing, or even fidgeting. 

Great news! These trivial amounts of activity add up. 

While getting regular exercise is still important to lifelong health, increasing NEAT activities can be a big help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  This is because NEAT activities increase your metabolism as well as burning more calories in a day. 

That’s why on a typical day, I get up from my desk several times to get a drink of water, stretch, walk down the hall to check my mail, or run downstairs to talk with a colleague. 

Here are some ideas to help you improve your NEAT:

  • Park farther away from the store, or take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Play video games with your kids instead of watching TV (it keeps your hands active)
  • Refresh your glass of water several times a day (this will mean more trips to the bathroom which is also NEAT)
  • Have a dance party or a fashion show with your children
  • Grow a garden or mow the grass with a push mower
  • If you work at a desk, stand up and stretch every few minutes
  • Take a lap around the block or around the coffee table during commercials
  • Fidget or tap your foot any time you have to sit still
  • Have a contest with your kids to see who can stand on one foot the longest
  • Wash the dishes or the car with your kids (they like playing with the bubbles)

While seemingly small, making the effort to change your daily habits by adding more NEAT along with reducing overall caloric intake creates a foundation for long-lasting weight-loss success.

Pete McCall
Health and Fitness Expert

I look for every opportunity to increase my NEAT, and you can too!