NEAT - How To Burn Calories Without Exercising

Ever wished you could burn more calories without exercising? You’re not alone. It might sound like a pipe dream, but actually – you can!

Traditional diets require you to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this in two ways: burn more or eat less.

While there are now some more modern approaches to weight loss that take a more scientific approach, such as the Keto diet, keeping active and using up your excess calories as energy is a great way to maintain a healthy weight.

But what if you don’t want to hit the gym?

Well, despite what the fitness industry will tell you, you don’t have to exercise to burn calories.

Your body is constantly burning energy, even when you’re sat on the sofa bingeing Netflix. It can’t NOT burn energy as long as you’re living and breathing.

The question is, how much does your body burn?

What Determines How Many Calories Your Burn?

The amount of energy your body expends depends on three factors:

Basal Metabolic Rate

This is also known as your resting metabolic rate. It’s the amount of energy your body uses to basically just stay alive and support your organs. Your brain, liver and skeletal muscles are all heavy energy users – with your brain aline accounting for a fifth of your BMR. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for 60%-80% of your daily energy requirements.

Thermic Effect Of Food

When you eat, your body has to take the food and convert it into energy – or convert it into fat for storing. Making energy takes energy! In fact, TEF is responsible for around 10% of your daily energy expenditure.

Thermic Effect of Physical Activity

The third, and final factor is TEPA – the energy expended due to physical activity of any kind. It could be pumping iron at the gym, cleaning your kitchen or just walking up and down the stairs in your house. This type of energy expenditure accounts for around 20% of your total output but this can be increased the more active you are.

What is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)?

Exercise Thermogenesis is what we usually think of when we want to burn more calories. It’s physical activities that we do as deliberate exercise – think yoga, HIIT, going to the gym…

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT) is the energy expended when we’re not exercising (or sleeping).

Your level of NEAT depends mostly on your job, your hobbies and your overall lifestyle.

For example, if you’re a waitress, on your feet for 7 hours a day then your NEAT will be much higher than someone sat at a desk.

If you live in a city where it’s easier to cycle or walk to work, your NEAT will be higher than someone who drives or gets the bus.

If your hobbies are more crocheting rather than cricket, your NEAT will be lower than someone who loves active sports.

The trick to burning more calories without exercising is to slightly adjust our habits and lifestyle to increase our daily activity without really noticing it.

How To Easily Increase Your NEAT

In a society where driving to work, sitting at a desk and lounging on the sofa is very much the norm, there’s plenty of scope to make small changes that compound together to have a big impact on the calories you burn throughout the day.

Walk Where You Can

Busy schedules and convenience culture has lead to people walking less than we used to. Need to grab a loaf of bread from the shop? Don’t hop in the car. Take a little stroll. Heading into town to meet a friend? Why not walk the scenic route? Need to get up to the fourth floor in the department store? Take the stairs!

Clean Like Your Mother In Law Is Coming To Visit

Most of us spend a little time each day doing general cleaning and tidying. But there’s cleaning…and then there’s CLEANING. Dusting, hoovering and scrubbing can be a great way to increase your NEAT. Just put a little more effort into your clean – tidy a little faster, scrub a little harder and move a little more as you do your daily chores.

Working From Home? Try This

If you are working from home and no longer commuting this can massively reduce your daily activity. Most people are getting up and starting work immediately. If this sounds familiar try and build in some daily activity to your morning routine. Check out my blog to learn more. 

Make time during the morning or afternoon for a 15-30 minute walk, after all, you would be having breaks at work. Make sure to schedule this into your work diary.

Every time you get up to make a coffee or cuppa, do some squats, lunges or jumping jacks whilst the kettle boils. Make it fun and do a different exercise every time, aim to do something that increases your heart rate.

The average kettle takes 3 minutes to boil. 3 minutes of jumping jacks can burn up to 60 calories. If you make 5 hot drinks a day that’s an EXTRA 300 calories a day without ever setting foot in a gym!  Just remember, don’t be adding sugar to your cuppa!

Take A Stand

Got a desk job? Try getting a standing desk. Sitting in an office is the worst thing when you’re trying to increase your NEAT. But you don’t need to get a new job just yet. Just changing your working position from sitting to standing can help burn more calories throughout the day – it’s supposed to help with focus, motivation and overall health too!

Cycle Or Walk To Work

If you work away from home, consider how you get to work. Do you drive or get the bus? Could you walk or cycle instead? Just switching your mode of transport can not only increase your NEAT but help the environment by reducing your emissions too!

Play With Your Kids

If you’ve got kids, they’re ideal for increasing your NEAT. Next time they ask you to play, put the Xbox away and do something physical. Take a walk to the park, play catch or run around the house playing tickle monster! The kids will love it and you’ll burn more calories without even realising.

Walk The Kids To School

If you can try walking the kids to school in a morning. This is good for you and them. If you have to drive them in, why not park your car a few roads away from the school gates and walk the last bit of the journey.

Can NEAT Really Make Much Of A Difference?

So if increasing your NEAT is really that simple, can it really make that much of a difference?

To put it simply, yes.

Let’s say you decide to walk 1 mile to work each day instead of driving. That’s 1 mile there, one mile back again – so a total of 2 miles walking each day.

This activity would burn an average of around 200 calories – which might not sound like much, but it soon compounds. 200 calories a day is 1400 calories a week. That’s around 1 lb of body fat burned each fortnight, just by walking to work and back.

Combine that with cleaning a little more energetically, playing a little more actively and walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift and it all soon adds up!

Want To Learn More About Weight Loss?

Check out my previous weight loss blog posts here…