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Does NEAT (Non Exercise Energy Thermogenesis) Increase Weight Loss?

03/07/2014 15:40 BST | Updated 02/09/2014 10:59 BST

Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. Most of us have good intentions when it comes to working out but, with family life, work and social schedules, it can make it difficult to do the recommended 3 hours of weekly exercise. That's where NEAT can help.

What is NEAT?

NEAT (Non Exercise Energy Thermogenesis) refers to adapting daily activities to increase energy expenditure. It's a way to speed up your metabolism and burn additional calories without actually exercising.

Does it work?

Yes and No. If you're trying to lose weight, NEAT can help as the extra movement will speed up your metabolism, keeping your body in the fat burning zone. Therefore, NEAT will help you to achieve your goals quicker as, the leaner your physique become, the more visible your muscle definition will be. However, it is not a replacement for actual exercise. You will still need to exercise regularly so that you build muscle mass and reduce your body fat.

Here are 5 great ways to NEAT-ify your lifestyle:

1) Don't sit on the sofa when watching TV, sit on a Swiss ball instead

This will force you to engage your core, making your abdominal muscles work harder to regain stability and balance. It's a small change but, over time, it will strengthen your core, tone your abs and help to strengthen your back and stomach muscles, improving your posture in the process.

Fitness Equivalent:

Sitting on the swiss ball will help to to burn between 112 and 165 calories per hour. This is equivalent of holding a plank exercise for 40 minutes.

2) Put on your favorite CD and dance along when cleaning, cooking and doing housework

Dancing burns lots of calories, it engages all muscle groups and, the more you move around, the more calories you'll burn and the more areas you'll tone up. This will benefit your legs, arms, shoulders, stomach... the lot! It really does provide a whole body aerobic workout.

Invite some friends round for a party, or put on your favorite tunes to dance to whilst cleaning, or play, for have fun with the children playing Wii Got To Dance. Or, better still join a Zumba class and you'll burn even more!

Obviously, the amount of calories you'll burn depends on your energy expenditure, how much dancing you actually do to the music, and the amount of time you do it for.

Fitness Equivalent:

Dancing continuously for 35mins can burn up to 200 calories. That's the equivalent of a 35 minute workout on a cross trainer.

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3) Sing

Singing burns lots of calories. So turn up the volume on your music and sing along whilst working out (or doing chores) and you could burn up to 126 calories an hour on top of your workout just by singing along. It's also a great motivator as, if you're having fun, you'll forget about the hard work of exercising and workout harder, for longer.

Fitness Equivalent:

Performing a kneeling vacuum exercise for 37 minutes can burn up to 126 calories.

4) Have More Sex

Just 25mins burns 104 calories in men and 69 calories in women. Plus, the more adventurous you are, the more you'll move around and tone different areas of your body.

Fitness Equivalent:

Swimming for 15 minutes burns up to 119 calories (based on someone who weighs 150lbs).

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5) Stand up and walk when on the phone.

Whilst sitting at their desk, the average person only burns 15 calories a day when on the phone. However, by standing up and pacing around the room every time you're on the phone, you can burn up to 100-130 calories. A massive difference!

Fitness Equivalent:

Walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes at an incline of 5%. This burns approx. 109 (based on someone who weighs around 150lbs).

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