No time for a workout? Here are 20 ways to burn calories without trying – from cooking to playing with kids to dog walking, I’ve got fun ways to get stay active without the gym.
Do you feel like you have no time to workout? Do you have a full, demanding schedule or have a house full of kids (like me) that make exercise non-existent? Believe me, I’ve been there. I try to make it Pilates twice a week, but sometimes I want more exercise that my schedule allows. I’m sure you’ve been there too.
How to Burn Calories Without Trying*
Home and Garden
1. Get cooking. Chopping, slicing, prepping and other cooking activities can burn nearly 200 calories in an hour. Considering most people make 2-3 meals in the kitchen a day, it’s easy to burn calories without noticing. And bonus points for doing plies or squats while cooking.
2. Play with the kids. Burn nearly 300 calories in an hour when playing with kids. Participate in child games such as hopscotch and burn over 350 calories or even just toss a frisbee around to burn over 200 calories an hour.
3. Start cleaning. Wash windows, detail the car, mop the floors – all heavy household cleaning burns off over 300 calories an hour. Check out these homemade house cleaners that are cheaper and more eco-friendly than conventional cleaners.
4. Get organized. Burn about 260 calories an hour just by organizing closets and shelves, boxing up old clothes and unwanted items and getting rid of clutter. A great excuse to spring clean throughout the year.
5. Redecorate your bedroom. Paint or wallpaper your bedroom or any room in your home and burn over 300 calories an hour.
6. Get moving. Are you moving or just rearranging furniture in your home? Moving household furniture and other heavy items can help to burn off nearly 250 calories an hour.
7. Mow the lawn. Log over 350 calories an hour by simply mowing your lawn. Use this old-school lawn mower and burn even more calories – about 400 calories an hour.
8. Tend your garden. General gardening activities burn over 300 calories an hour.
9. Shovel snow. For those living in colder climates, this activity burns nearly 500 calories an hour.
10. Browse and burn. Sitting down and browsing on a computer burns 100 calories an hour. Boost your activity BIG TIME with a treadmill desk (this one is less than $40) or stationary bike with a desk (I personally have one and LOVE it). Move at a slow pace so you can still type and browse on the computer, but get a lot more activity than just sitting at a desk.
11. Walk the dog. Taking the pooch for a leisurely walk (3.5 mph or 17 minutes/mile) burns nearly 300 calories an hour. Log your steps while walking Fido with a digital pedometer (this one is my favorite).
12. Grab some groceries. Pushing a shopping cart in a store for an hour burns over 250 calories. Get bonus points for doing bicep curbs with a 1-pound can or doing lunges in the aisles.
13. Take the stairs. Use the stairs as often as possible if you work in an office building. Use the bathroom on a floor five stories up or walk up and down the staircase for a few minutes. If you can log just 30 minutes of stairclimbing, you’ll burn 223 calories.
14. Park in the back. This was an old trick I used to do when I worked in an office building, Park in the very back of the parking lot and walk the longest distance to get to the front door. This could add an extra 5-10 minutes of walking – as opposed to parking in the front and closest to the front door. If you go to lunch outside of work, do this again to log more time.
15. Host a walking meeting. If possible, ask co-workers to walk around the office building or parking lot while in a meeting. The fresh air and activity are great for boosting creativity, alertness and confidence. Plus, you’ll burn about 150 calories in just 30 minutes.
16. Boost your desk time. If you work at a desk, you’ll burn about 120 calories an hour. Burn more calories with a seatless exercise cycle that fits under your desk.
17. Rack ’em up. Play pool or billiards with friends and burn nearly 200 calories an hour.
18. Get a strike. Take the family bowling and burn nearly 225 an hour.
19. Check out marine life. Snorkeling is a great way to check out local marine life while burning nearly 400 calories an hour.
20. Bust a move. Slow dancing burns about 225 calories and hour while fast dance (and yep, even disco) burns up to 500 calories an hour. And really, who’s really counting calories while disco dancing? Feel free to embrace your inner Dancing Queen.
What’s your favorite way to burn calories without trying?
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*Calories based on 155 pound person. Source: Calorie count and reference courtesy of Harvard Heart Letter, July 2004.
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / Odua Images