Ten Ways to Increase NEAT That Don't Cost You Time

Defining NEAT and how to maximize NEAT for calorie burn.


6/25/20212 min read

Ten Ways to Increase NEAT That Don't Cost You Time

What is NEAT anyway? It stands for "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogensis", which translates to calorie burn without intentional exercise.

For those of you that wear a Fitbit, do you have that hourly reminder to get up and get 250 steps? I don't personally but I know people that do. It's a good reminder for those that are usually sedentary but deep down, we all wish got enough activity anyway, through NEAT if possible.

Besides the normal ways they tell you to get more activity, like taking the stairs, parking further back in a parking lot, walking somewhere instead of driving, there's many more ways to increase activity, and they can easily be integrated into your way. For those wearing a step counter, does it add up? Absolutely. That extra 300 steps, 50 steps, 1100 steps can get you to your goal so much more quickly.

Below are ten, kind of stupid easy ways to increase your NEAT each day:

1. Do more things while walking in place, like watching TV, cooking, doing dishes (tricky but can be done).

2. If you have a sitting down job, try an adjustable standing desk, or an exercise ball to increase core strength while sitting.

3. If you're sitting for any reason, get a portable exercise pedal. They are usually under $40, fold up, and are quiet.

4. Are you the type that waits until the weekend to do all your chores? Make a list and pick one each day to do, in order to spread things out.

5. When you get up to relocate yourself, do 10-20 high knee steps, either in place or to your destination. Bonus points if it feels like you're running! Extra bonus points if you can get away with doing this at work!

6. Walking meetings for work, or planning some time with family or a friend? Plan something that requires walking, like window shopping or errands. Did you know in other parts of the world it's perfectly acceptable to invite friends to accompany you on errands? That sure sounds like some good multi-tasking!

7. Like to play on your phone? Who doesn't? Do so while walking in place instead, or on a treadmill.

8. Power walk or jog with the dog.

9. On a phone call? Get up and pace.

10. Get things to fidget with your hands and feet, just like a child. With your feet, bat around random objects, like cat toys when you don't feet like standing up.

"How to remember to do all of this?" Mindfully track yourself during the day to see when you are most idle. What can you do to turn that into NEAT time?

"I wear a step counter, what if it won't count what I'm doing because I'm holding an object?"

Pro Tip: Put it on your ankle. Seriously. It works. Take a shoelace and tie it around your ankle, or try a magnetic wrist band that adjusts to a large size more easily.

"But I'm so tired! I don't want to!" You probably don't feel like doing actual exercise too, but if you did, you'd push yourself through the fatigue the same way. The best part, is as you get used to it, it gets easier and goes away. This means you'll generally have more energy!

So I'd say increasing NEAT is a pretty neat way to get your steps or your exercise! (bdum chhhh)