We love our workouts, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only way to burn calories. Find out some of the sneakiest ways to burn calories without even realizing you’re doing it.
One of the secrets to staying lean easily is to sneak in exercise during your day. These little bursts of activity (non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT; to be technical) function as micro workouts – burning a handful of calories here and there. By the time you go to sleep all those handfuls will have added up to a decent calorie burn.
That’s not to say that they can replace your workouts or a good, clean diet – you still need both of those, but these micro workouts will certainly supplement what you’re already doing, so why not add them in? It will all add up to help you reach the fitness, physique and health goals you’ve set for yourself.
The key to getting this done is to think about your entire day as an opportunity to work out, get active and improve your health, rather than sticking it into a little compartment for a certain time of day. Sure it requires a bit of creativity, you may break a sweat through the day and people could give you a couple of strange looks (depending on what you’re doing), but who cares?
After sneaking in exercise to your day becomes a habit, you won’t even notice that you’re doing it anymore, but you’ll still benefit from the results. Awesome. And not only is it a great way to help you get fitter, but it also makes your day much more fun. Try it, you’ll see.
Depending on your circumstances, some of these ideas probably aren’t going to fit in to your lifestyle – at least not all of the time – so find what works for you and if all else fails: get creative.
12 Sneaky Ways to Burn Calories
1. Take fitness over convenience.
We put this tip first because it’s the overarching theme you’ll see in the rest of the tips. If you use this as an attitude and a guiding principle, when you can, then you’ll be well on your way to kicking some calorie bootay.
2. Take the stairs.
Admit it, you knew this one was going to be in here – that’s because it’s a great way to burn some calories – especially in an office environment.
For example, someone who weighs 150 – 160 lbs, taking a flight of stairs will burn about 10 calories a minute. Might not sound like that much, but say you take the stairs (e.g. 1 minute) three times a day (30 calories), five days a week (150 calories) that results in about 2 lb fat-loss per year.
Burn more calories: a study by the University of Roehampton seems to indicate that you can actually burn more calories by taking the steps one at a time.
3. Escalate your gait…
on the escalator. Why wait? By climbing the escalator you’ll get a burn some extra calories and you’ll get to your destination quicker.
4. Get up, stand up, walk around.
These days most people spend a lot of time on their butt: all day at the office, or in front of the computer, then at home on the sofa in front of the television. Even if you split it up with an awesome workout that’s just a drop in the ocean of your 24 hour day.
You’ve probably already seen this scary infographic about sitting down all day, so we’re not going to go in to all those reasons again.
But just in terms of calories burnt, within minutes of sitting down your calorie burn plunges to about one calorie per minute. Not very impressive. Standing will burn just shy of double the calories, but walking around the office will burn 3 – 5 times as many calories (as well as getting the electrical signals to your lower body firing again).
And if you’re able, get yourself a standing desk, or petition your boss to! At the very least, take a walk around the room ever hour.
Probably not going to make you a favorite with friends and colleagues, but fidgeting can burn a decent amount of calories. Just how many will depend on the activities you do, but in one study by the Mayo Clinic fidgeters burnt about 350 more calories than non-fidgeters (bear in mind, their definition of fidgeting includes walking around the office; fidgeters spent 150 minutes less sitting down compared to non-fidgeters).
6. Walk or cycle to work…
Heck, even rollerblade if it tickles your fancy. You’ll be saving money, doing some planetary good and getting fitter, healthier and sexier at the same time. Understandably, not everyone can do this, but if you can try it out – and there’s always the weekend: if you’ve got places to go, use those calories as fuel.
If your take public transport, you can always get off early so that you force yourself to walk the rest of the way.
7. Sneak in exercises at your desk.
Be prepared for some strange looks, but depending on your work environment, you could sneak in some squats, stomach vacuums, chair hovers, glute squeezes, dips…
8. Spend more time playing with your kids.
Or pets if you’ve got those instead. Got both, then that’s double the calorie-burning opportunity. The more active, the better. Naturally, if you’ve got a pet sloth for instance, play-time probably isn’t going to cut it (they’d probably love yoga though).
9. Get active during lunch.
Most nine-to-fivers can fit in a good 30 – 45 minute workout (even if it’s just low-intensity cardio like walking) during their lunch. It’ll burn calories and boost your mood – work out that stress, and come back feeling great.
10. Energize household chores.
Become very enthusiastic with your chorse. Just do it all with gusto. Have a little dance! When you think of them as not just chores, but also little calorie burners… voila, suddenly chores become a lot more fun. Side effect: where you live becomes spotless.
11. Don’t just brush…
Squat while you brush your teeth. Why not? Most of us just stand there anyway. This is a great time to work those glutes. Where else could you fit in an exercise while you wait: running a bath, making a cup of coffee…
12. Use those commercials.
First, if you’re watching television, there’s no rule that you have to do it snuggled up in the sofa, though that is nice. Instead try watching standing up, in horse stance or with wall sits.
Next, don’t waste those commercials by dozing off, get in a mini-workout: squats, lunges, push-ups, plank – see how many or how long you can go for before your show is back.
Those are just a few of the many ways you can sneak in some calorie-burning goodness. Once you start actively looking for opportunities to make yourself suffer get fitter, healthier and sexier, you’ll start seeing them everywhere you look – go out and find them!
How do you sneak in some exercise to your day? Let us know in the comment section below!