Non-Exercise Activity: Thermogenesis

Our Personal Trainer Victoria studies a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science with an Honours in Nutrition. She shared some insight into the theory behind burning fat in the human body outside the realm of exercise.

Ever heard of thermogenesis?

Physical activity is identified as the second most significant contributor towards total energy expenditure in the majority of the population. There are two subgroups of this: exercise-related activity thermogenesis and non-exercise activity thermogenesis.

Put simply, thermogenesis is the production of heat in the human body, which requires energy from the stored fuels from our diet.

The National Physical Activity Guidelines advise that adults need to be reaching 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. Typically this consists of exercise-related activity thermogenesis. Non-exercise activity can consist of general walking, housework, stair climbing, and general day-to-day duties.

Additional voluntary exercise is a useful tool for weight maintenance, however, engagement in NEAT-related activities can be easily integrated in daily life. NEAT activity has been shown to burn four times more kilojoules per hour compared to remaining sedentary.

Top tips to increase your NEAT activity each day:

  1. If you spend your day at a desk, try to get up and move for 15 minutes every hour. Try to avoid remaining sedentary for long time periods.
  2. Walk more. Aim for the recommended 10,000 steps per day! Park further away from work, walk to the shops, etc.
  3. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. 
  4. Stand up more instead of sitting.