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Taking the Stairs and 5 Other Ways You Can Burn Fat Daily

Do little everyday activities help burn fat? (Image via Unsplash/Bruno Nascimento)
Do little everyday activities help burn fat? (Image via Unsplash/Bruno Nascimento)
Natalie P.

Have you ever heard of little activities to burn fat daily?

Picture this: you’re out with that friend who religiously attends their pilates and kickboxing classes, uses Stevia in their coffee, and doesn’t touch bread. You walk to the elevators only to find yourself boarding it alone while your friend points to the fire exit and says, “I’ll take the stairs!”

Why?

Me taking the stairs on the station instead of an escalator https://t.co/IDBMNvP0zm

People are always talking about taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking if it’s a short distance instead of hailing a cab. But do these choices really help burn fat? Do these small changes in our activity levels really make that much of a difference?


How do everyday activities help burn fat?

Let’s talk about something we call TDEE, which stands for total daily energy expenditure. In simple terms, it is the total number of calories our body burns in a day through activities of daily living (or ADL).

Out of the TDEE, 60 to 70 percent is your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the calories used by your body to carry out functions such as breathing, digestion, pumping blood, etc.

People with higher muscle mass have a higher RMR because more energy is produced and expended throughout the day, and this helps them burn fat.

Our potential to burn fat increases with small activities (Image via Unsplash/Khiet Tam)
Our potential to burn fat increases with small activities (Image via Unsplash/Khiet Tam)

Out of the TDEE, about 10 percent consists of thermic effects of feeding (TEF), which is the energy used to digest food. Protein takes longer to digest and subsequently burns more calories than other macros when consumed.

Finally, 15 to 30 percent of our energy is expended via exercise and non-exercise activities. This is what we call exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

NEAT includes activities like climbing the stairs, performing chores, fidgeting, walking around while on the phone, etc. The more active a person is in their day, the higher their NEAT levels are. In simple terms, they expend more calories and burn fat.


How to increase energy expenditure to burn fat

So, from what you’ve read above, the takeaway is that the more you move around in a day, the more fat you are capable of burning. And that does not include the calories burned during exercise.

Let’s look at some ways you can expend more calories in your day and burn fat, aside from an hour of exercise and taking the stairs.

1) Take breaks during work

If you are someone who is confined to a desk for most hours of the day, chances are you are mostly in your chair.

Take periodical breaks (every 1 to 2 hours) just to stand up, stretch, and walk a few steps. Not only will it contribute to your NEAT, but it will also keep you feeling refreshed and energized while working.


2) Walk or cycle to your destination

Use a cycle to get to your destination (Image via Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo)
Use a cycle to get to your destination (Image via Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo)

Now we don’t mean a 5-mile hike just to get to work or the salon. However, finding alternatives that are close enough for you to walk to instead of having to drive or take a cab is a great option.

Using a bicycle is even better as cycling burns more calories than walking.


3) Go out to buy your takeout/groceries

Alright, maybe Walmart and Chipotle are too far away, and you need your car. That’s okay; the important thing is you are physically going out to get them instead of tapping away at the screen and having them delivered to you.

Skip the drive-thru and stand in line to order your food. Carrying groceries to the car is also great NEAT. Plus, it’s even a strength workout.


4) Fidget while standing

Burn fat by moving around even when waiting in line (Image via Unsplash/HW)
Burn fat by moving around even when waiting in line (Image via Unsplash/HW)

When you’re waiting in line for your takeout or at the bus stop, keep shifting your weight from one foot to the other.

Since you can’t walk around and risk losing your spot to someone else, this is another way to expend more energy by just waiting around.


5) Squeeze in a stroll in the mornings or at night

Another great way to up your NEAT and clear your mind for the day is to incorporate a walk right after waking up or after dinner.

Again, we don’t mean running a 5K. Even 10 minutes of walking at a moderate pace can do wonders in the long run for your metabolic rate.

Plus, you get some more steps in. Who wouldn’t want that?


The processes involved in burning fat seem tiring and tedious, but there are ways you can burn more just by existing.

Nobody said you have to be planted to your chair the entire day. Little activities like the ones listed not only burn fat but also keep your BMR at a high, so you have the potential to burn more calories.

Next time you’re out with your friend, may we suggest you take the stairs with them?


live poll LIVE POLL

Q. How high are your NEAT levels?

Not that high.

Pretty good, actually.

38 votes so far

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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