Looking to burn off a few extra calories? There are simply steps you can take every day that add up to make a big difference - just be sure to consult a medical professional before beginning a weight loss or exercise plan.
Wear Ankle Weights
Wear ankle weights while going about your normal daily routine helps to burn calories and build muscles without any extra effort. Bear in mind that this can put extra strain on your limbs, so it’s worth checking with a medical professional to ensure that this is safe for your personal needs.
Park Further Away
If you must drive (walking or cycling is better for your health), park further away from your destination. Adding a few minutes of extra walking to your schedule shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it’ll help you to burn a few extra calories and will help improve your health.
Take The Bus
If your city has a decent public transport service, take advantage of it. Walking to and from a bus stop can help you be more active, all without taking too much extra time out of your day.
Walk Up Stairs
Skip the elevator and take the stairs at work instead. This small change will help increase the steps you take in a day, and the effort of pushing yourself upwards will help you
Knit a Sweater
According to Eat This, Not That, knitting burns around a hundred calories in an hour. When you’re just sitting at home watching TV or talking, try keeping your hands busy – you’ll also get some cool new scarves for your effort.
Sing Along to the Radio
Believe it or not, singing on your way to work could help you burn extra calories. Again according to Eat This, Not That, if you’re stuck in a car for 40 minutes a day and you spend that time singing along to the radio, you’ll burn 100 more calories than if you stay silent.
Cook Meals From Scratch
Fixing your diet is the best possible way to improve your health. Cooking your meals from scratch not only removes a lot of sugar and additives from your diet, but the process of standing chopping vegetables burns around 100 calories in a 30 minute period (according to Eat This, Not That). Check with a licensed medical professional to see what changes you can make to your diet to further improve your health.
Take Regular Work Breaks
Sitting in a chair all day isn’t great for your general health. To help burn a few extra calories, set a timer and get up for a two minute walk every 30 minutes. Not only will this help your waistline, it’ll also improve your mental and emotional health and keep you from getting overly tired and frustrated at work.
Take care with this one: according to Eat This, Not That, shopping can burn 100 calories in 22 minutes. This involves buying groceries or trying on clothes – so long as you’re active, you’re burning calories. That said, be careful, as if daily shopping is causing you to buy junk food, you’ll be doing yourself harm in the long run. Consult with a doctor if you’re worried that shopping is causing you to gain weight.
Carry a Shopping Basket
Speaking of shopping, try reaching for a basket instead of a shopping cart when you’re buying food. According to Shape, lifting all of your groceries around with you can burn as much as 100 calories in 30 minutes. The other benefit is that your purchases are limited by what you can physically carry, which helps cut down on superfluous extra snacks.
Walk During Your Lunchbreak
Get up and move during your breaks from work. Use your lunchbreak as an opportunity to go for a walk, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy the local scenery.
Clean Your House
A clean and tidy house is more comfortable to live in, and can help your waistline. By tidying up and engaging in other chores such as washing and ironing clothes daily, you’ll burn calories without even noticing.
A study in the Diabetes medical journal found that cooling your home could help you burn extra calories. It takes effort for the body to keep itself warm in lower temperatures, so turning off your heating (or turning up your AC) can help you gain a slight extra boost to your metabolism. That said, it’s important not to freeze yourself – check with a medical professional that your home is at an appropriate temperature.
Sit on the Floor
According to biomechanist Katy Bowman, the author of “Move Your DNA,” sitting on the floor helps your health in several ways. Your muscles have to work harder to keep you balanced and upright compared with sitting in a comfy chair, and this not only burns calories, but also helps tone your muscles and strengthen your core.
Carry Fewer Groceries
As much fun as it is to try and carry as many grocery bags in from the car as possible, according to Health, you’re better off taking things in one bag at a time. Yes, this is less efficient and more time consuming, but it increases the steps that you take and helps you to burn extra calories.
A study from the University of Rhode Island found that chewing gum caused participants to burn 5-8% more calories than no-chewers. This small act helps increase your metabolism, and as an added bonus, other studies suggest it helps decrease your appetite, so you eat less as well.
Drink From a Smaller Bottle
Ideally you should be drinking water throughout the day to stay healthy (just not in excess – consult a medical professional if you’re worried you’re drinking too much or too little). One trick for becoming more active, as suggested by “Radius Fitness” trainer Natalie Uhling, is to carry a smaller water bottle. This forces you to get up from your desk to fill it up more often, meaning that you’re walking around more.
Listen to Hip-Hop
Brunel University in London found that music with between 120-140 beats per minute helped to speed up participants while exercising. The timing of the fast music lined up with their running rhythm, so it pushed them to move faster. The study found that hip-hop is more effective than rock because it regularly changes tempo, pushing exercisers to increase their speed more often.
Grow Your Own Veggies
Take pride in your garden and try growing your own vegetables. According to Shape, 25 minutes of gardening every day leads to burning 105 calories. Plus, you get to enjoy eating some healthy home-grown produce when your plants bear fruit.
Cut out TV time and replace it with something more creative. Shape claims that painting on a canvas for 35 minutes burns 120 calories – you also have a neat painting to show off as a result of your efforts.
Read a Book
If you must consume media, reach for a book rather than a screen. According to shape, reading for 65 minutes burns 100 calories because you’re concentrating on the printed page. This is also good for your mental health.
Vacuum Your Home
Taking the time to vacuum your house daily leaves you with a cleaner home. You’ll also burn 100 calories every 35 minutes, according to Shape. Add in some lunges while you’re cleaning and you can get a solid workout without ever slowing down.
Stand (or Bounce) at Your Desk
Don’t sit at a desk when you can avoid it – Shape states that standing at your desk for 40 minutes burns 100 calories, and even sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair helps to increase your metabolism. If you do experience any back pain or discomfort, be sure to consult a medical expert.
Go hands free using either speakerphone or a headset, and pace around while taking phone calls. A 35 minute call could help you burn 100 calories if you remain active the whole time, according to Shape.
The Mayo Clinic claims that fidgeting – tapping your foot, playing with your hair, or moving your restless legs – can burn up to 150 calories an hour. If you are getting restless, it’s a good hint that your body needs you to get up and stretch your legs anyway, which will further help you to burn calories.
Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing for just 20 minutes burns 100 calories, so be sure to go out of your way to find funny stuff to giggle about. You don’t need to laugh for a solid chunk of time to get this benefit, so long as you’re filling your day with little moments of levity.
Wear Running Shoes
For the good of your health, ditch your stilettos – at least when you’re walking around. Wearing comfy exercise shoes will help you to move around faster, picking up your pace so that you burn more calories without any extra effort. If you must wear uncomfortable shoes for your job, consider switching to something more sporty when you’re on your way home.
Track Your Activity Levels
Measuring your progress will help you feel inspired to keep making improvements. Consider using a fitness tracker throughout the day to measure the calories you’re burning or the steps you’re taking – you’ll find yourself wanting to do better to see your numbers rise.
If you’re ordering lunch while at work, don’t get it delivered. Instead, get up and walk to pick it up – this will help ensure that you’re more active during your lunchbreak, and it’ll help you to burn calories at the same time. Aim for protein-rich lunch choices as they’ll help you to feel full sooner so you won’t need to snack.
Drink Cold Water
According to Healthline, drinking just 17 ounces (500ml) of cold water has been proven in clinical studies to increase your metabolism for approximately the next hour. Results from these studies vary, but you’re looking at somewhere between a 4.5% and a 30% boost in calorie burning all from drinking a small glass of cold liquid.