Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
How to lose weight without excruciating exercises and diets that trample the postulates of humanism? Perhaps, this is one of the greatest questions of our time (except “how to quit a 9-to-5 office job and find happiness”, of course). “Weight loss without exercise” sounds like a dream. But all busy and tired inhabitants of big cities in the world still want to believe that it is not just a fairytale, but a top-secret knowledge, available only for the chosen few. But do not despair, for we have great news for those who believe! We are glad to announce that the miracle of non-exercise weight loss exists! And it is not a stupid joke or a clickbait declaration.
In this article, you’ll find the science-based information that will explain how to lose weight without exercise or eat a little bit more without guilt. You’ll know about what non-exercise activity is and how it works to make you lose weight without you even noticing. So set your running shoes aside for several minutes and prepare to find out how to break the vicious cycle of cardio-trainings and binge eating episodes. Meet Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), that will change your approach to weight loss!
NEAT: Rethinking your routine
Every day you carry out some tasks we are obliged or used to do. Grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn mowing – the list can be endless. Sometimes, it seems that you’re so busy that you can’t take a breather even for a minute.
In addition, between work and family duties you somehow need to find the time for the workout. And this is definitely not a simple matter! Especially if you are tired after performing all the routine tasks or already have no empty cells in your planner.
According to the research, more than 75% of Americans don’t exercise vigorously more than 3 times per week. Which means, that they don’t have enough time or motivation to do that more frequently.
Perhaps, for some reason, you can’t spend more time on being “a fat-burning machine.” And this, in turn, can make you feel sad or uncomfortable because you’re not as fitness-productive as Insta-models or bodybuilders from your GYM. But is it as terrible as you think?
Stop blaming yourself for the mythical unproductivity and turn your attention to your routine activities instead. Are you sure that they are nothing more than time-consuming necessities? Maybe these chores are blessings in disguise, able to change your activity rate figure in a positive direction?
Get ready for your world to change! Because, from this moment on, you will be loving to tidy up your house or playing active games with your pet. Meet the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – the process which will help you lose weight without exercise and with great joy!
What is NEAT
So, what is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, actually? It is a process, during which your body expends consumed calories (=energy) by performing daily activities. For instance, during standing up from a couch, walking up and down the stairs, or cooking dinner. All of these activities require some energy to be performed, but you don’t usually consider them as physical exercises. That’s why scientists have named them Non-Exercise Activities (obvious, but very accurate determination).
According to multiple research, NEAT plays an incredibly significant role in daily Total Energy Expenditure (or TEE) – the index, showing the amount of energy you spend every day. How is this index formed and what components does it contain?
Total Energy Expenditure and the role of NEAT
Total Energy Expenditure index (TEE) contains the results of several distinct processes, happening in your body in response to your daily activity and eating habits. It is composed of indexes of Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), and Activity Thermogenesis, which includes exercise and non-exercise activity. Let’s see the exact numbers.
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which shows how much energy your body requires for serving its basic needs, takes 70% of the energy you spend daily.
- The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) takes another 10%.
- At last, physical activities take 20% of TEE, and the whole 15% of it is spent on Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).
- Exercise activities, in turn, demonstrate the most modest percentage of Total Energy Expenditure and equal 5%. This number obviously shows that the effort we put into pushing weights or running at 6 AM is not worth it in terms of weight loss.
How to improve the Total Energy Expenditure numbers
Some components of TEE can’t be changed dramatically in terms of the actual percentage. For instance, the Thermic Effect of Food can take maximally 15% of the Total Energy Expenditure. But, to achieve this impressive percentage of expenditures, you need to change your preferences in foods in terms of nutrients. On the other hand, this change in diet can let you eat more and still lose weight.
(If you want to know more about the Thermic Effect of Food, check out this article)
Happily, in the case of NEAT, you don’t have such restrictions in percentage of energy expenditure. Counterwise, you can playfully manipulate the numbers and reach your goal to lose or maintain weight without discomfort. And, what’s really important, you don’t need to sacrifice your personal life for that. All you need to do is to perform activities of low or medium intensity, which you can do for longer periods of time. Simple walking or house cleaning can become your golden key to success! This is the true way to lose weight without exercise! No magic, just nature! And science, which has discovered this wonderful way to stay fit and shared this knowledge with us.
We bet that you can’t wait to know how to use this knowledge and stop sweating your life out on a treadmill! So let’s take a closer look on how to bring more non-exercise activity into your life.
Boost your NEAT
If you want to raise your daily calorie expenditure, there are countless ways to make your wish come true. From simple things like using stairs instead of an elevator up to active gardening and house cleaning…Choose, mix, and interchange activities, adjusting them to your mood, schedule, and desire!
To make your process of choosing easier, we present our TOP-3 ways to increase your NEAT index (and burn some energy in the name of weight loss!).
TOP-3 ways to increase Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
1. Make it walk
Imagine yourself, pacing in a park together with your friend and discussing the last season of your favorite TV series. Such a walk seems to be leisure, but during this joyful activity, you can burn 80 kcals per 1 mile on average. And if you carry a full grocery bag along, your energy expenditure will increase even more! According to research, your calorie-burning rate is directly connected with your weight and load you carry. So, don’t deny yourself an opportunity to swing by the supermarket before a walk!
(If you want to know more about how to incorporate walking into daily life, check out this article)
2. Be playful
Play with your children, friends, or pets outdoors! This way you not only create unforgettable memories and a strong emotional connection, but also make your body and mind happy with “investing” your energy in the right direction.
3. Dance it out
This way is suitable for almost everybody. Because we all love music and the real joy we feel when dancing! Even when we are driving our cars, we move in time with music we like. So why not use this tendency for good?
Experiment and find more ways to effectively expend your energy, choosing activities, which give not only the sense of pleasant exhaustion but a lot of fun during the process itself. If it isn’t the best way to lose weight without exercise, what else can be better?
Stay healthy and find your own way to feel happy during your weight loss journey!
- Chung, Nana et al. “Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): a component of total daily energy expenditure.” Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry vol. 22,2 (2018): 23-30. doi:10.20463/jenb.2018.0013
- Villablanca, Pedro A. et al. Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis in Obesity Management. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 90, Issue 4, 509 – 519
- Walking economy is predictably determined by speed, grade, and gravitational load Lindsay W. Ludlow and Peter G. Weyand Journal of Applied Physiology 2017 123:5, 1288-1302