Burning calories without exercise

Amany Abdel-Moneim , Tuesday 25 Apr 2023

Dusting, vacuuming, mopping, washing the dishes and scrubbing down your counters and sinks can burn a ton of calories

Burning calories
Burning calories


Want to get into shape after celebrating the festive season but hate going to the gym? Cheer up – you can easily burn calories without ever stepping foot in a gym.

To burn calories without exercising, experts recommend increasing your NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is a term for all of the movement you do that is not vigorous enough to be called a workout. And because everyone’s activity level is different, calories burned from NEAT can vary from person to another by up to 2,000 calories per day.

The opportunities to get active without hitting the gym are endless. Just walking around during your chat on the phone instead of sitting down, or moving briskly like you’re late for a meeting or getting up for at least 15 minutes every hour if you have a desk job, or even tapping your feet or drumming your fingers on the desk at work can burn some calories. 

So, whether you’re short on time or just feeling lazy, but are serious about burning more calories, here are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you burn more calories without working out.

Deep clean your house: Dusting, vacuuming, mopping, washing the dishes and scrubbing down your counters and sinks can burn a ton of calories. Household chores can also burn a few hundred calories per hour. The actual number depends on your size and gender.


Take a bath: Soaking in a hot bath for 30 minutes can burn 130 calories. That’s about as many as a 30-minute walk. Relaxing in a hot bath can induce passive heating, which reduces inflammation and also happens to your body post-workout.


Play with the kids: Children never stop moving. Joining them in their fun can help you burn a few calories. Playing a game of hopscotch for 20 minutes can burn over 100 calories.


Get adequate sleep: Poor sleep can imbalance several important appetite-regulating hormones and accordingly increase your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food. This can lead to a higher calorie intake. You should aim at seven to nine hours of sleep a night.


Laugh more: Laughter puts you in calorie-burning mood. It burns up to 50 calories if you laugh for 10 to 15 minutes per day.


Try fidgeting: This can help you burn up to 350 more calories a day than someone who remains stationary, according to a study at the Mayo Clinic in the US. The impulse to fidget may be hardwired, but non-fidgeters can imitate it: try to tap your feet, pace, or move restlessly in your seat.


Plan long walks with friends: A 150-pound individual who does a walk and talks with friends for 30 minutes during a two mph walk can burn around 90 calories. A 200-pound individual can torch 120 calories walking at two mph for 30 minutes, and a 250-pound person can burn 150 calories. Bear in mind that the faster you walk, the more calories you burn.


Drink more water: Drinking water can help you eat less and lose weight, especially if you drink it before a meal. Drinking water throughout the day causes metabolic rates to increase by about 30 per cent, according to a German study. You should aim at eight cups a day.


Let your lungs burn calories: Just breathing burns 500 to 900 calories every day. Good inhalation and exhalation rhythmically contracts the abdominal blood vessels, increasing blood circulation, oxygen absorption, and the metabolic rate.


Bring music into it: Listen to fast songs. The beat forces you to keep a calorie-burning pace, especially when walking, taking the stairs, or even cooking.


Do the grocery shopping: Pushing a full cart around the grocery store for 45 minutes can burn over 100 calories. Carrying your groceries from the car and putting them away can burn another 80.


Dance more: To burn extra calories, you need to get your body moving more often, and dancing is a truly stellar way to accomplish this. On average, an individual can burn up to 200 or more calories in an hour of dancing.


Take the stairs: Try taking the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible. Each time you opt for the stairs, you burn calories. A person who weighs 160 pounds and walks up the stairs can burn 29 calories in just three minutes. If you choose the stairs four times a day, you’ll burn around 116 calories.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 27 April, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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