Blog Fitness Neat Exercise: Burn More Calories Without Straining Yourself At The Gym

Neat Exercise: Burn More Calories Without Straining Yourself At The Gym

Human lifestyle has taken a 360-degree flip over the past few decades. The metabolic disorders we are facing today never existed before. Our ancestors even consumed all the rice and mangoes they craved but remained fit and healthy.


Ever wonder why?

Lack of a healthy diet and physical activity are the two main factors responsible for growing obesity, high cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Rapid urbanization and easy food options gradually pull people towards a sedentary lifestyle.

The fact that you are here shows your will to turn over a new leaf. The good news is, there is a simple solution to fix this lifestyle and feel healthier. Allow us to introduce the NEAT exercise.

NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is the key to burning more calories without thinking about them. You don’t even need to hit the gym to shed those extra pounds!

Curious to know how? Stick with us to find out!

What Is The NEAT Exercise?

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is a fancy way of describing all your movements outside the exercise. If a movement burns calories, it is counted as NEAT exercise.

Pacing during the conference call, walking the dog, and cleaning the house are some examples of NEAT exercises.

The energy expended for anything we do but doesn’t include exercise, sleeping, or eating could come under the NEAT umbrella. Over the past few years, researchers have been interested in how we can utilize the remaining 110 to 115 hours of the week for weight loss instead of the few hours we work out trying to lose weight.

Even trivial physical activities like moving about or fidgeting may aid in weight loss as it is the cumulative impact of many exothermic actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT (1).

A study published in 2016 followed more than 12,000 British women for 12 years. It concluded that fidgeting may reduce the fatal risk associated with a sedentary lifestyle (2).

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Simply put, your daily activities can help you lose weight and keep you in shape if you can’t join a gym for some reason.

neat exercise

What Is The Positive Impact Of Neat On Your Body?

NEAT exercise doesn’t include a structured workout pattern, but it envelops the exercises already included in your routine. Not to forget how structured exercise may cause stress when people can’t meet their goals.

Also, the expensive training suits and accessories, hiring a trainer, and traveling to the venue consume plenty of your time and money. Meanwhile, NEAT exercise doesn’t put you through these strains. In fact, you can get done with your chores while moving about.

And that is what we call a win-win scenario!

Read More: 8 Upper Thigh Exercises That Will Reduce The Appearance Of Cellulite

How To Increase Neat Exercise?

A sustainable exercise pattern like non-exercise activity thermogenesis will bring positive outcomes when followed regularly. It requires your mindful involvement in physical activities and produces efficient results if you follow a routine with discipline.

NEAT exercise may help increase your metabolism and burn extra calories. Moreover, there are fewer chances of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and cardiovascular issues when you consciously try to follow the NEAT routine (3).

Research suggests that individuals who move throughout the day are likelier to maintain or reach their weight goals than those who stay sedentary through the day and rigorously move during exercise sessions (4). Adopting NEAT behaviors can also increase daily caloric expenditure by as much as 350 calories each day, which is highly beneficial for obese individuals (5).

Generally, housekeeping, agriculture, and construction jobs often help follow a NEAT pattern. But, if your work demands you to stay glued to your screen for hours, you should look for creative ways to integrate NEAT throughout the day.

See also
Physical Activity Vs. Exercise: What’s The Difference And Does It Matter?

Here are some ways to increase your NEAT exercise:

Change Your Commute Mode

You can walk or take a bike to work instead of driving a car. This is an excellent way to start your day, as you can inhale the fresh air and make new friends along the way.

Take The Stairs

Rather than taking elevators at your office or building, you should climb the stairs. This will elevate your energy, improve balance, and build upper body strength. It also contributes to building muscles and lowering blood sugar levels.

Clean Your House

Cleaning your house is another form of exercise. Whether it’s tidying your house, sweeping the floor, or wiping the windows and doors– every activity requires movement that increases your heart rate, like aerobic exercises. Mopping, sweeping, and dusting target the upper and lower body while burning the extra calories.

Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!

neat exercise

Stand Instead Of Sitting

Adjustable desks are gaining popularity in workplaces. However, if these desks are unavailable, you can raise your work to the counter or podium to stand through the day. This benefits those who need to work or read from their laptop. Resting heart rate remains higher when standing than sitting, thus enhancing the caloric output.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 145-pound person can burn around 102 calories per hour while sitting at work. In contrast, if this person stands while working, they could lose 174 calories. The extra 72 calories may seem insignificant, but they accumulate up to more than 18,000 calories per year (approximately 5 pounds) (6).

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Create Wellness Challenges

Talk to your medical advisor about creating a wellness challenge. An example of a NEAT is to cover 10,000 steps each day for ten consecutive days. Reward yourself with a cheat meal or a day off when you reach the weight you were aiming for. Fitbit and Pedometer devices are quite helpful tools for tracking your steps.

Accumulated physical activity can significantly increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day. Hence, if you remain tied behind the desk all day, remember that there are many ways to remain fit without religiously following a workout regimen.

Below are some NEAT exercise examples that are also helpful:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Walking the dog
  • Completing the gardening work
  • Playing with the kids

It takes a conscious effort to integrate NEAT exercise into your routine. You have to find ways to move and use your body more. It will be a beneficial addition to your exercise routine, allowing you to lose some calories without taking away your time from your family and home. This is perfect for those who believe that time is their worst enemy!

How Many Calories Could NEAT Burn?

The number of calories that NEAT can burn varies from one person to another. A study reported that the number of calories NEAT burns varies by up to 2,000 kilocalories per day between two individuals of the same size (7).

Several factors could contribute to this, including genetics and the environment. Not only this but your lifestyle and job can also impact how many calories you can lose through NEAT. Two individuals with the same BMI but with different work structures will lose different calorie amounts through NEAT.

See also
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To get an idea of incorporating NEAT into your routine, look at your daily physical activities. How many steps do you walk each day? How long do you wait at the subway? Do you stand during work hours? How many ways do you move with nothing to do with the gym?

The percentage of overall calories burned during NEAT may vary between 15 to 30 percent depending on your lifestyle.

Read More: 10 Winter Exercise Ideas With Pros And Cons

neat exercise

How Can You Use Exercise And NEAT Together?

Exercise and improved overall fitness are essential for health and wellness.

A few known benefits of regular exercise include reduced risk of heart problems and diabetes, stronger muscles, reduced cholesterol levels, and positive mental health.

Yet many believe having two to three weekly workouts will help them lose the extra pounds. And soon, the same people become frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

Although exercise is important for our overall life quality, it is crucial to understand how exercise impacts weight loss. If the lack of time doesn’t allow you to exercise regularly, you can consider including NEAT exercise in your routine.

Some workout goals are beyond the NEAT potential. For instance, if a person wants to lose 2,000 calories each week, they should include numerous high-intensity exercise sessions per week. It is unlikely that they could lose the target calories with NEAT exercise alone.

By combining regular workouts with NEAT, you may start noticing positive results in your body.

How To Maximize The Power Of NEAT?

Instead of setting super-specific goals for yourself, try to make the most of the opportunities you get from daily physical activities.

As many of us work behind desks or study all day, the chances of following NEAT exercises have reduced. 

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Take the following measures to maximize the potential of the NEAT you manage to follow:

Be Clean And Tidy

Take a more enthusiastic approach to everyday chores. Embrace every chance you get to clean. This will help you be more physically active and will be good for your mental health.

If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!

neat exercise

Become An Active Relaxer

It would help if you were more mindful about how you relax. Consider including restorative yoga or regular walks in your routine. And if you are simply relaxing on the couch, use the activity monitor to track your physical performance throughout the day.

Sustain Good Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) Levels

LPL is the primary enzyme when it comes to converting fat into energy. Your LPL levels will drop when you stay sedentary. But regular movement through the day may help stabilize your LPL. This supports your body in burning the extra fat.

Activities that sound trivial can have a surprisingly remarkable impact on your metabolic rate. This, in turn, stimulates more significant energy expenditure over time.

The Bottom Line

Indeed, losing weight isn’t easy. For those who are at high risk of developing lifestyle diseases or have Type 2 diabetes, or can’t exert intense effort during workouts, NEAT is a beneficial option. As for those who deal with obesity and type 2 diabetes simultaneously, NEAT may not be enough. This is where they need a professionally designed weight management plan that focuses on sleep, diet, stress, and pain management.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) (2002, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.go)
  2. Fidgeting while you work might be good for you (2015,
  3. Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk (2010,
  4. Sedentary Behavior: Emerging Evidence for a New Health Risk (2010,
  5. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): a component of total daily energy expenditure (2018,
  6. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and Health (2020,
  7. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Human Energy Homeostasis (2022,
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