It turns out, you don’t even have to sweat in order to burn calories. In fact, you’re burning calories right now just by reading this article.
But do those calories add up to anything significant?
Research done at Harvard Medical School shows us that you can ditch the gym and still squeeze exercise into your day. You just need to be smart about it. Here are 5 ways you can burn more calories, boost your metabolism, shed fat and feel great, all without hitting the gym or even lacing up your runners.
1. Watch TV
This has to be a joke, right?
Well, we all know that watching TV is NOT a great form of exercise on its own. In fact, you’ll burn a measly 28 calories by sitting in front of the tube for 30 minutes. But, a little multitasking can make a drastic difference.
For example, cook while you watch TV and your calorie expenditure triples! Want more? Do some simple stretches while you enjoy your favorite show and you’ll be burning 5 times more calories than if you just veg on the couch!
2. Get sexy
If you really want to enjoy your exercise, consider making sex an everyday activity. Depending on how kinky and active you and your partner are in bed, you will burn an average of 126 calories per 30 minutes of intercourse for men, and 93 calories for women.
That might not sound like much at first, but consider that a light session of weight lifting burns about 112 calories in 30 minutes, so sex is looking pretty good! Thinking about pairing sex with some other calorie-burning activity to give you an even better workout?
Hop in the pool for a swim before and after making love in the water. You’ll burn about 340 additional calories. By comparison, that’s about the same number of calories you would burn by jumping rope for half an hour. Pool sex or jumping rope? You decide.
However, there are a few things you need to know about sex in the water before start splashing around with your loved one. Bonus: Even 30 minutes of passionate kissing can help you burn as many as 60 calories!
3. Be patient in line
Although I’m not advising you to become a chronic line-stander at Walmart, you might be less irritated by long lines knowing that you’re actually doing your body some good. Standing in line for 30 minutes burns about the same amount of calories you burn within 10 minutes of resistance training at the gym. Shift your weight from one leg to the other while you wait and you’ll instantly burn even more.
So, the next time you’re late for your workout because you got stuck waiting in line to buy a protein shake, know this: Your workout began while you waited in that line.
4. Beautify your home
I admit that tending to your yard does sound like a little bit of physical work. But did you ever consider how much exercise you were getting in the process?
Mowing your lawn for half an hour burns even more calories (205) than you’d take in eating one medium-sized doughnut (194). Your home looks great, you exercised and you get a treat. Sounds like a pretty fair trade.
In winter, you can replace mowing your lawn with one of the all-time great workouts that might not seem like a workout: Shoveling snow!
Depending on the outdoor temperature, and therefore the heaviness of the snow, shoveling can be as calorie-burning as most sports. In just one hour you can easily burn 500 calories.
I know that snow shoveling can be a pain (trust me, I live in Canada!), but it is a bit more gratifying when you know that you just burned as many calories as you would have by jogging on the treadmill. Kill two birds with one stone.
5. Buy some food
Grocery shopping is often associated with the temptation to buy high-calories foods – it’s not often seen as an opportunity to burn calories. But, that’s just a matter of perspective…
Grocery shopping burns about 260 calories per trip, which is far better than sitting at home. That’s one reason why I recommend it to my clients as a “back up” form of physical activity: If you haven’t been very active on a particular day, make that day your grocery shopping day. You’ll get a chore done, and you’ll get a little exercise done without even realizing it.
While we’re at it, just think what will happen when you go grocery shopping and then get stuck waiting in a line to pay for your food. According to Harvard researchers, that trip to the store can quickly become a bigger calorie-burner than playing volleyball for half an hour.
Get Up and Move!
While it might seem silly to replace your gym workouts with grocery shopping or sex in a pool, the goal is to recognize that any movement you do is a calorie-burning activity. If you’re “not a gym person,” don’t think for one second that you can’t exercise. Opportunities for exercise are all around you – which one will you choose today?
Dave Smith is a fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He works with clients from around the world using the Total Coaching training platform, helping each client institute the right habits that will lead to meaningful results. You can catch Dave’s weekly QA fitness podcast or learn about all things health-related on his blog at makeyourbodywork.com.
Photo Credit: Dominik Wycislo/Unsplash