Non-exercise activity thermogenesis commonly referred to as NEAT, relates to all the energy we use for activities other than when we exercise – for example, general day to day movement. There are ways you can boost your daily NEAT without hugely exerting yourself. Try these 11 daily tips to see if you can boost your energy expenditure without even exercising!
Any amount of movement requires energy and therefore burns calories, so try to fidget a bit. Tap your foot, play imaginary drums with your hands to music or twizzle a pen between your fingers. Ideally not enough to annoy anyone around you!
When you are moving about, try to do it with a bit more conviction. Walk more briskly or rise up and down on your tip toes when standing in a queue for example.
We tend to always look for a parking space as close to the building as possible or to walk to the closest bus stop only, or carry all the shopping bags to the house in one go. Stop making life so convenient and instead park a little further away or carry one bag at a time into the house. It all adds up!
In your mind tell yourself the lift is broken, so you must take the stairs – no question. You'll likely get to where you're going just as fast and you'll have burned a few calories and lifted your bum in the process. Or while at home, always go to the toilet that is on a different floor of the house so you have to go up and down the stairs.
Find ways to stand more throughout the day rather than sitting. Opt to stand up during virtual meetings with your colleagues, consider investing in a stand-up desk to use sometimes and walk around while on the phone to friends and family. Standing requires much more energy than sitting, plus you can move your legs a bit more easily to keep the blood flowing.
Rather than waiting until you're bursting for the loo, head there with enough time to go to the one furthest away in the house or your place of work. You'll feel better for getting a bit of a longer screen break and you’ll get in some extra steps for the day.
Ideally, we should all move around a little at least once an hour to help keep our blood circulating properly and to take any unnecessary pressure off our blood vessels. Trying to get up and either walk or to do a couple of squats or a quick dance will help with this, as well as burning some extra calories.
Rather than popping a pizza in the oven and sitting down on social media while it cooks, why not stick your favourite music on and cook from scratch. This will keep you on your feet for another 20-30 minutes – helping to burn some extra calories. And you’ll also have a more nutritious meal in the end.
Give your appliances a rest and wash the pots by hand or hang the washing out to dry rather than sticking it in the tumble dryer. You could save a little on your home energy costs, while spending a little more on your biological energy!
It's true that laughing burns calories and it also makes us feel great! So, when you do finally put your feet up, stick something funny on!
This is technically not a contributor to NEAT but to the thermic effect of food – it's close enough! Out of the macronutrients protein requires the most energy in order to be digested, above fat and carbs, so eating more protein can actually lead to a bigger calorie burn throughout the day. Aim to include more day to day but avoid having excessive amounts. To find out more about healthy protein intakes read this.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.