Scottsdale Weightloss Center

Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis for Weight Loss


Cally Smith, FNP-C

It’s no secret that physical activity is essential for weight loss and maintenance. It also can lower your risk for certain types of cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Even during your medical weight loss program, your doctor will suggest increasing your physical activity.

Despite all the health benefits of physical activity, people are doing less of it. Busy jobs and kids, limit the time we have to go to the gym and exercise.

But what if there was a way to reap the benefits of physical activity without going to gym?

What is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)?

In a nutshell, NEAT is any activity you do that is not a structured exercise.

Examples of NEAT include:

  • walking your dog
  • pacing on the phone
  • cleaning the house
  • standing in the shower
  • gardening
  • fidgeting
  • cooking

These day-to-day NEATs are roughly 63 % of your day. Increasing your NEAT will help with fat loss, improve your health, and enhance your mood.

Health Benefits of NEAT

A Swedish study followed 3,839 patients, men and women, for 12.5 years. Patients with higher levels of NEAT, regardless of exercise, reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 27%.

Now, NEAT shouldn’t be a substitute for aerobic activity like running or swimming. But NEAT can be a substitute for the amount of time spent sitting.

Other Examples of NEAT:

  • Desk cycle
  • Desk elliptical
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Wear a fitness tracker and track your steps! Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • Park furthest away from the store
  • Dance
  • Play tag with your kids

No matter what you do, incorporating NEAT into your day is a great way to squeeze in some physical activity that will promote weight loss.


Levine J.A.(2004). Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): environment and biology. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab.

Novak C.M & Levine J.A. (2007). Central neural and endocrine mechanisms of non-exercise activity thermogenesis and their potential impact on obesity.


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