Burning Calories The NEAT Way!

Burn Calories with NEAT

Take the stairs instead of elevator.


Do you like to wiggle or tap your foot when you’re in a meeting or waiting for something? Do you pace back and forth when you are on the phone or find it hard to sit still? Despite what your mother (husband/wife/father/teacher/boss) has said, fidgeting may be a good thing! Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is simply energy that is expended by daily activities other than planned exercise.1 Two different studies have attributed fidgeting to burn 348-352kcal/day on average,2, 3 that can equate to a 2-3 pound deficit in a month’s time!

As obesity rates continue to be a complex and increasingly widespread problem, encouraging physical activity and energy expenditure over-time will affect weight control. Even small changes such as the NEAT way will be beneficial to an individual’s health status. Biological and physiological factors do play a role in the impact of each individual’s physical activity levels and caloric changes will vary.

Want some NEAT tips? Incorporate some of these in your daily routine to increase the calorie burn and wiggle away.

Burning Calorie Tips

  • Do some side stretches and toe touches while waiting at the copier
  • Tap your foot and hands to the beat of the song on the radio while you’re waiting at a red light in the car
  • Walk around while talking on the phone
  • Use a smaller cup so you can walk to the water cooler more often
  • Instead of sending an email, walk to your colleague’s desk to deliver the message
  • Do some curls while carrying a gallon of milk or taking your garbage to the dumpster
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator
  • Park a few spots further away than usual
  • Wiggle your toes while sending an email

Just like every bite counts, every movement counts too, now isn’t that “NEAT”?


  1. Ravussin E. A NEAT Way to Control Weight? Science 307, 530 (2005); DOI: 10.1126/science.1108597.
  2. Ravussin E. et al. J. Clin. Invest. 1986, 78;1568.
  3. Levine, JA. et. al. Science 2005, 307; 504.
  4. Novak CM and Levine JA. Central Neural and Endocrine Mechanisms of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and Their Potential Impact on Obesity. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 19, 923–940.

Subscribe by Email

Are you enjoying our posts? Subscribe by email to receive 2YourHealth in your inbox.

Author: Carla Spencer

Carla Spencer is a Registered Dietitian and founder of 2 Your Health. Her extensive career working with individuals with health challenges led her to create this site dedicated to helping people enjoy their lives while working to prevent or minimize the impact of kidney disease.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.