Losing weight is simply a matter of expending more calories than you consume. Most people go about shedding the pounds through a dietary calorie deficit coupled with activities like running and cycling. There is however, another known mechanism of burning calories without eating less or going to the gym. It’s called NEAT – it stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. A classic example of NEAT if fidgeting, but I won’t ask you to do that.
A common trait amongst the longest living cultures in the world is pottering about. The elderly who engage in sewing, gardening and keeping pets tend to always live longer than those who stay sedentary because of the health benefits of NEAT.
You don’t have to break a sweat or starve yourself to get in shape and live healthily. The key to weight management is implementing small yet significant lifestyle changes into your daily routine. Below I’ve listed 7 that you can start using today.
1. Park Further Away From Your Destination
If you travel to the same place on a regular basis, like work or college start parking further away. You don’t have to park in the next village, even if you add 3 minutes to your walk, that’s 6 minutes there and back and 42 minutes of extra walking each week that you hadn’t been doing.
2. Always Take The Stairs
Lifts aren’t as time efficient as people unconsciously assume. It take time for the lift to come down, time for people to fill it, time for people getting on an off at various floors — it’s really a cumbersome way to travel.
For decades, favourite cardio exercise amongst professional bodybuilders has been the stepper. You can find them in any commercial gym and they burn an incredible 800 calories per hour at a moderate intensity. You can get some of these cardio calories, for free and without breaking a sweat by breaking it down into small chunks.
If you happen to find yourself in a really tall building you can just get off 5 stories below your own. 5 minutes of stair climbing daily can add an 460 calories to the amount of calories you burn each week.
3. Get A Standing Desk
Scientists have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can be a damaging to one’s health as smoking. It’s bad for our cardiovascular system and bad for our mobility. Some of us, however, have desk jobs. We can’t just start standing up… or can we?
More and more health conscious people are now converting their workspaces to allow standing. It’s pretty simple. You raise the height of your desk and sit on a high stool to give your legs more of the weight compare to a conventional computer chair. When you stand you burn literally twice as many calories as when you sit. If you spend 8 hours a day at your desk these additional calories quickly add up.
4. Drink Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine has long been used a weight loss supplement. It doesn’t have any magic fat burning properties. It just makes you more energetic so you burn more through NEAT. When you’ve had a strong coffee, you tend to want to get up and do things. Stimulants also make you fidget and talk with more expressivity.
Caffeinated beverages also have other health benefits such as antioxidants but don’t go crazy with it. Too much of anything is too much. We also get accustomed to caffeine, which you don’t want. A few cups of coffee early on in the day is fine.
5. Watch Television On A Swiss Exercise Ball
Top innovators like Google, always looking to improve the productivity of their staff, have now started using swiss balls instead of chairs in their offices. The swiss ball is designed in such a way that your core is always activated even when sitting on it.
They’re relatively cheap and will burn similar calories to standing while you sit. The average person watches 4 hours of TV a day. This isn’t half as bad if you swap the couch with a swiss ball. During the commercial breaks you can lift your feet off the floor and see how long you can balance. This is an excellent core movement that burns extra calories.
6. Dance Like No Ones Watching
Psychologists understand that dancing is one of the best ways to experience ‘peak experiences’. Regular dancing makes us happier. It also burns a hell of a lot of calories without the monotony of conventional exercise.
Anyone who has been out dancing for a night has surely been surprised to feel their bodies ache the next morning. Dancing in nightclubs, however, typically comes with the price of alcohol calories so I wouldn’t recommend you go out more. What you can do is dance, tapping your feet is enough, while you do household chores. Put in some headphones and burn away the calories with ease.
7. Eat More Lean Protein
Protein has the highest TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), out of all the macronutrients. Roughly 30% of the calories consumed from protein will be used up in the digestion of it. In other words, protein increases your metabolism better than any other food source.
Most of the benefits of low carb diets are actually down more to the increased protein than the reduced intake of carbs. Eat more protein and you’ll naturally burn more calories throughout the day.
Putting It To Practice
Each of these 7 ways to burn more calories without exercising has been chosen not only because of their effectiveness, but because of their practical value. Everyone can park further away from work, everyone can stop using lifts, everyone can eat more protein and not shun away the odd cup of coffee. By implementing some of these small habits one at a time you can drastically increase the calories you burn throughout the average week, possibly losing 1-2 pound per week without even doing much else.