6 Amazing Benefits of NEAT for Weight Loss & How to Do It

Non-exercise Thermogenic Activity or NEAT involves activities of the daily routine which results in energy consumption and weight loss. These tasks can be performed on a regular basis and can be used for obesity control.

Body weight is affected by a number of factors including diet, physical activity, stress, and genetics. Sedentary lifestyle and changing dietary patterns have an adverse effect on weight and thus are the main culprits for weight gain and obesity.

Obese persons usually resort to diet control or workouts for weight control. These measures are not very easy to follow. With work and other engagements, it becomes difficult to take out time for exercising and gym trips.

For such individuals, NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis offers an efficient and effortless way of losing weight.

What is NEAT?

NEAT is the amount of energy expended by the body by any activity excluding deliberate exercises, eating or sleeping. This may include walking, typing, gardening or doing any other household chores.

Let us know the various ways by which energy is produced by the body.

Thermogenesis is the process by which the body produces energy or heat. There are many ways by which energy is generated by the body. Some of them are:

  • Exercise-Associated Thermogenesis (EAT): This is the energy released due to planned exercises and sports activities.
  • Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This is the energy produced as a result of any physical activity done apart from exercising, sleeping and eating.
  • Diet-Induced Thermogenesis (DIT): This refers to the energy expenditure by the body in response to food digestion, metabolism, and storage.

NEAT allows one to burn more calories while at work or doing daily activities. This does not include workouts, sports or any other form of intentional exercise.

NEAT is affected by several factors like age, gender, genetics, body composition, weight, and occupation.

It plays a significant role in the determination of body weight.

More physical activity increases NEAT and the energy expenditure.

Thus, individuals whose work involves more physical activities, tend to have higher NEAT and better body weight than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

How NEAT helps in weight loss?

When energy intake is greater than energy expenditure, the excess energy or calories in the body get stored in the form of fats in adipose tissues in the body (Law of Conservation of energy). This increases the fat mass in the body and contributes to weight gain.

The increase in body weight for a long time can lead to obesity and increase one’s risk of cardiovascular diseases, kidney and liver disorders.

Energy is expended during body movements and other physical activities. Here’s where NEAT come in. Doing various types of physical activities, body movements and tasks around the day requires energy.

These activities, which utilize a substantial amount of energy help in balancing the energy levels in the body. This prevents fat deposition and promotes fat burning to produce energy. The result is a reduced body weight.

Let us learn about some of the benefits of NEAT for weight loss.

Benefits of NEAT for Weight Loss

NEAT can help in weight loss in several ways. NEAT is known to improve metabolism of your body along with correcting any metabolic abnormalities. NEAT also helps in weight loss by regulating fat distribution in the body. Apart from acting on existing fat/weight, it can also help in preventing weight gain in future. It has been found that it stops weight gain after a weight loss.

5 Amazing Benefits of NEAT for Weight Loss & How to Do It

Here we discuss these benefits if NEAT for weight loss in detail –

1. NEAT increases metabolism

Any form of physical exercise or movement performed by the muscles requires energy. For this, the body increases the production of energy through various chemical processes like digesting food and breaking down nutrients.

This increases the body’s metabolism and prevents storage of fats.

It is now known that even simple activities like sitting, stretching and walking that constitute NEAT stimulate the body’s metabolism and contribute to weight loss.

What does this mean?
NEAT leads to increased energy production and metabolism of nutrients in the body.

2. NEAT corrects metabolic abnormalities

Metabolic abnormalities like increased levels of cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure contribute towards and are related to weight gain and obesity.

This happens because the lipids and carbohydrates are not metabolized properly which then get stored as fats.

In a study conducted on 45 patients with diabetes, it was found that NEAT helped in reducing insulin concentrations, waist circumference, blood pressure and abdominal obesity.

What does this mean?
Non-exercise activities may help in improving metabolic profile of individuals and prevent obesity.

3. NEAT regulates fat distribution and promotes fat loss

NEAT utilizes the fats in the body for the production of energy. The energy is produced as a result of fat metabolism rather than carbohydrate metabolism.

The body can produce around 100-800 kcal/day by performing routine activities and making use of body fats. This contributes to weight loss and prevents weight gain.

NEAT was also found to reduce waist circumference and abdominal fats, thereby regulating the fat distribution and determining body shape.

What does this mean?
NEAT utilizes body fats to create energy and helps in lowering of waist circumference.

4. NEAT leads to prevention of obesity and related disorders

NEAT varies from person to person and individuals with higher NEAT are less likely to become obese. On the contrary, people having a sedentary lifestyle with low NEAT levels are at risk of developing obesity.

Research has proved that NEAT controls fat distribution and plays a determining role in  obesity.

Thus, maintaining high levels of NEAT through activities of daily routine, leisure and occupation can significantly increase the energy expenditure by as much as 2000 kcal/day depending on the degree of activity.

This could be an essential step in the management of obesity.

In addition to obesity, it can also improve the lipid, glucose and insulin profiles which can prevent other related disorders like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.

What does this mean?
Increased physical activities of daily routine can prevent weight gain, obesity and obesity-related diseases like diabetes and heart disorders.

5. NEAT prevents weight gain

By increasing energy expenditure, NEAT can prevent fat gain.

In a study conducted on 16 non-obese persons, it was found that NEAT, comprising of daily activities, posture maintenance, and fidgeting, led to two-third increases in the energy expenditure.

This had an adverse impact on fat storage and greater resistance to fat gain, even with overeating. Thus, performing more NEAT activities could help in preserving a lean stature while sedentary lifestyle can result in weight gain.

Many other studies have also reported the crucial role of NEAT for weight management and weight loss.

What does this mean?
Increased energy expenditure with NEAT prevents an increase in body weight.

6. NEAT prevents weight regain after weight loss

One can lose weight by any means, but maintaining the body weight after weight loss is even more challenging.

It has been found that increased physical activity during weight loss, which could be as simple as walking, can help in preventing weight regain.

A study was conducted on 34 overweight women who were given an additional physical activity of walking, in addition to their 20-week weight loss program.

Women who expended more energy by doing physical activities with a weight loss diet reported lesser weight regain after six months and 12 months than the other group of women.

What does this mean?
Non-exercise activities done during weight loss period may prevent weight regain after few months.

Top 10 Activities to Increase your NEAT

Worried how to increase your NEAT? Here are 10 activities that will increase your NEAT and promote weight loss:

1. Walking

Walking is an excellent way to increase NEAT levels. One can easily incorporate more and more of this activity in their daily routine for weight loss.

One can change their mode of transport and chose to walk instead of driving to any place like office, shops, place of worship, school, salon or friends place. Riding a bike could also be a better option than driving. Sunday walks, morning walks, evening walks after dinner and walking your dog can also be done.

Walking can be used by even those people who spend their entire day at work. Firstly, if their workplace is nearer to their homes, they can walk, or if traveling by public commute, they can get off at the previous stop and walk to work.

During work hours, they can opt for walking towards a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or emailing them. They can walk during lunch hours and can take walk breaks instead of coffee breaks.

In a study, it was found that daily physical activity like walking increases energy expenditure and promotes weight loss.

What does this mean?
Walking is an effective non-exercise activity and can be easily incorporated into the lifestyle of all people including children, adults, youngsters, women and working professionals.

2. Household chores

Many household chores are very energy consuming and can increase NEAT levels significantly. Activities like cooking, cleaning and laundry can be done on a daily basis.

One can start by cleaning or vacuuming the room, mopping floors, dusting, cutting vegetables, doing laundry by hand sometimes and washing the car.

There is always some repair work to be done at home including plumbing, furniture repair, painting, etc. Instead of opting for labor-saving services, one can do this on their own by simple guidance from friends or taking help from the internet.

What does this mean?
Daily chores at home like cooking, cleaning and repairing works increase NEAT levels.

3. Fidgeting

Activities that involve repeated tapping of fingers bouncing of legs, playing with rings, or any other small movements with hand and feet, restlessly or impatiently, come under fidgeting.

Spontaneous physical activities like fidgeting done at workplace, school or home can increase energy expenditure and control body weight.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports a study wherein energy expenditure was measured in 24 individuals while resting, standing, sitting, fidgeting and walking.

It was found that fidgeting increased energy levels substantially which could contribute to weight loss.

What does this mean?
Impatient movements of the hand and feet called fidgeting consumes energy and can contribute to weight loss.

4. Gardening

Gardening and yard work involves a lot of energy input. Digging holes, planting, uprooting, mowing the lawn, cutting trees and doing yard work can increase NEAT levels.

Through studies, it has been found that integrating 45-60 minutes of gardening or yard work can assist in maintaining body weight, especially in middle-aged persons.

What does this mean?
Gardening and yard work increase energy output significantly and can assist in weight management.

5. Taking the stairs instead of the escalator

One of the easiest and most effective ways of weight loss through NEAT is the use of stairs. One can take stairs instead of elevators or lifts and thus, can experience increased energy loss and subsequently weight loss.

This has been suggested by scientists for efficient management of obesity.

Studies have found that a 2.4% increase in the use of stairs can prevent weight gain or promote weight loss of 300g per person per year.

Increasing usage of stairs can also improve metabolic status, lipid profile, body composition and fitness levels while decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What does this mean?
Climbing the stairs has a positive effect on metabolic status and is an excellent way to lose weight.

6. Playing

Playing games with family and friends can increase NEAT levels. The energy expenditure depends on the type of game and level of physical activity.

One can play outdoor games with kids or indoor games with the family or any computer-based games. All these activities involve energy usage and can be particularly useful for obese children.

Active video games and play stations that are being developed today require much physical activity and body movements.

Studies have found that these games can contribute to weight loss and weight management in children and young adults.

What does this mean?
Playing outdoor, indoor and video games can be an excellent weight loss measure, especially for obese children and young adults.

7. Working while standing

Standing involves the continuous use of leg muscles and doing work while standing is bound to increase energy expenditure in comparison to doing it while sitting or lying down.

One can increase energy expenditure by standing in local commute, standing while typing or doing office work, standing while cooking, cleaning or laundry.

In a study, it was found that work done during standing, as compared that done while sitting, increases energy expenditure by about 174 kcal.

What does this mean?
Doing any work while standing rather than sitting, increases one’s energy consumption.

8. Cycling

Cycling or biking requires the use of most of the muscles of the body including legs, hand, back and neck.

This activity is very easy to include in daily routine. One can opt of cycling instead of driving to a nearby place like market, school, office or barber’s shop.

Studies have shown that a physical activity like cycling can promote weight loss among obese individuals.

What does this mean?
Cycling involves energy expenditure by increasing the use of body muscles.

9. Pursuing Hobbies

Depending on the level of physical activity, hobbies can contribute to significant weight losses and are good examples of NEAT.

They may involve drawing, painting, dancing, doing artwork, playing musical instruments, cycling, travelling or any other leisure activities.

These activities can be done at any time and by any individual as per their convenience and interests.

What does this mean?
Hobbies or activities of interest can increase NEAT levels and the energy expended, depending on the standard of physical work done.

10. Grocery shopping

One may feel exhausted after doing a month’s shopping at a mall, grocery store or supermarket. This is because grocery shopping involves both physical and mental activity and depletes energy levels in the body.

One can start by walking to the grocery store instead of driving. Moving around in the store and examining products while carrying heavy bags or baskets are no lesser that lifting heavy weights.

Thus, shopping is an excellent example of NEAT and can contribute to weight loss.

What does this mean?
Shopping involves walking and lifting heavy bags which can lower energy levels in a person and lead to reduced body weight.

Conclusion

Non-exercise thermogenic activities or NEAT are an effortless and natural way to curb those extra calories on a daily basis. They promote weight loss and can be done in addition to other weight loss programs and diet control measures.

These activities increase the amount of energy released from the body and prevent fat storage. They improve the metabolism, correct metabolic abnormalities and prevent weight gain and regain.

Activities like walking, cooking, cleaning, repairing works, fidgeting, dancing, shopping, playing, gardening, taking stairs instead of escalators, changing the mode of transport and performing tasks while standing are some of the practical ways by which NEAT can benefit in weight loss.

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