To lose weight, you don’t just have to stick to intense weight lifting sessions, being out of breath and dripping in sweat, walking is a great way to lose weight by way of increasing non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
NEAT is a component of your total daily energy expenditure alongside your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and the thermic effect of food (TEF). NEAT refers to the energy burnt completing daily tasks like cleaning, and at a subconscious level like fidgeting.
You might notice that when you feel energized, you are more likely to speak with more hand gestures and move around more, as opposed to when you’re tired or hungry and assume a still position. This is one of your body’s ways of regulating energy balance.
If you want to maximize the amount of calories you burn each day, NEAT can make a big difference. Firstly, when you don’t engage in much NEAT activities like cleaning, standing or walking, you become sedentary. This isn’t just an adjective, it’s a physiological state. Here’s three ways NEAT helps you lose weight.
1. NEAT puts you in an optimized environment for fat burning
Being sedentary results in reduced lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that breaks down fat stores to use for energy, as shown in a 2012 study by Hamilton et al. The more NEAT, the more efficiently you’ll become at burning through fat.
2. NEAT helps you burn more calories without spiking your hunger
When you exercise intensely, your appetite soars. Your muscles need energy to repair the damage from being worked and physically you feel drained because you burned so much energy in your workout.
But sometimes this causes an energy surplus because you overcompensate on the food after exercise. NEAT however, doesn’t increase your appetite, so you’re burning calories without any need to eat more.
3. NEAT promotes weight regulation
A study found that increasing NEAT from additional walking, standing or fidgeting, resulted in a two thirds increase in participants daily energy expenditure. The study found that after eight weeks, the increase in NEAT resulted in less fat gain even during periods of overeating, showing that NEAT helps weight regulation.
Walk to the coffee shop rather than drive, take the stairs rather than the elevator and be the first to offer to pick up something from the printer. It may sound small, but as we’ve shown; small things add up.