Exercising may be hard, but it gives you that enjoyable feeling afterwards – however, some people tend to disagree. I know people who struggle to put the words ‘workout’ and ‘enjoyable’ in the same sentence – and it happens to a great number of people. Some choose to blame it on slow metabolism, but the truth may not be so straightforward. If you would love to lose some weight, but mere thought of sweaty gyms and strenuous exercises makes you shiver, NEAT exercises just might be the answer to your prayers. So, what is it and how can you burn calories without actually moving too much? 

A neat house and a NEAT workout

The acronym stands for ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’. Sounds complicated? Well, it isn’t. It means that even if you’re not consciously exercising, your body burns calories simply by fidgeting around. When you’re lying down, your body burns at least 1.5 calories per minute, simply by performing vital functions. Now, obviously, that’s not enough, so you need to… sit down, and you’ll burn 25% more. Why not get up and check your facebook? You’ll burn even more, and if you do your dishes… As you might have already understood, this type of exercise involves simply doing the stuff that you normally do – just a bit more of it. 

A couple of extra steps


You are probably rolling your eyes by now – so the neat training that you can use to improve your health is… standing up? Checking your email? Going a couple of flights of stairs down to check your post? It might sound ridiculous, but a growing body of evidence shows that you can burn a significant amount of calories even without exercising. You just add a couple of extra steps in your everyday life. And I mean literally a couple of extra steps.

The recommended norm for steps you make every day is 10,000. Sounds terrible, right? But you don’t have to make them right away. Try parking your car just a bit further from your house than you’d like. A few meters won’t make a difference for you – except that they will for your body! You’ll get fitter with every couple of meters added and you won’t even notice.

NEAT impact on your health

You don’t have to go over the top to have better health and a slimmer figure. Many of the people you assume to be ‘naturally thin’ hold more active jobs or are just moving around quite a lot at home. So, what can you do to incorporate more movement into your daily life?

  • Walk while you talk. Many feel the urge to go to another room when taking a phone call. Why not walk while you’re on the phone?
  • Change your sitting position. Notice how your body feels when you’re sitting down. Don’t you want to change something from time to time? Fidget in your chair, taking different positions.
  • Spend some time with pets. If you don’t have any of your own, play with friends’ cats or dogs. Animals are very expressive and require constant movement.


  • Put on some energetic music at home. Whether you’re cleaning or just making a cup of tea, upbeat music will make you move more!
  • Use the waiting time. Waiting for a bus? In a line for groceries? Shift your weight from one foot to the other, look around – these little movements add up!
  • Stand up when you can. Why not congratulate yourself when you finish a small task by standing up (or maybe throwing your hands up in the air? It’s a great neat activity that will make you feel like a champion. 

The general idea is – if you’re looking to improve your health while doing nothing, just try to do a little bit more of that ‘nothing’. More shifting in a chair, a more thorough cleaning of the house, take the stairs instead of the elevator… Once it becomes your second nature, you’ll start seeing the results. And maybe incorporate – a little bit – fitness into your life.

Written by Migle Anusauskaite
Migle is interested in a variety of subjects and finds expression in different mediums. She’s a researcher, comics artist, writer and illustrator. She...
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