This could be a little dampening for those exercise freaks out there. But even we at EHC (the laziest people on Earth!) love our workouts, but that doesn’t mean they are the only way to burn calories.
One way to stay lean 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.
We are not saying you should not work out or a have a good, clean diet. You still need both of those, but these micro workouts will certainly supplement what you are already doing. 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.
Depending on your life situations, some of these ideas probably are not going to fit in to your lifestyle. So you may find what works for you and imbibe them in to your daily schedule.
Take fitness over convenience
This is the first and the most important tip for you because it is the overarching theme you will see in the rest of the article. If you use this as an attitude and a guiding principle, when you can, then you will be well on your way to kicking some calorie out of your body system.
Take the stairs
This, as you already know, is a great way to burn some calories, especially in an office environment. For example, someone who weighs 80 – 90 kilos, taking a flight of stairs will burn about 10 calories a minute. Might not sound like that much, but say you take the stairs three times a day (30 calories), five days a week (150 calories) that results in about 2-kilo fat-loss per year.
Drink enough water
Drinking cold water can help up your metabolism, since your body will work harder to warm up the liquid, meaning more calories burned for you. Drinking water regularly also helps keep you feeling full so you don't snack on empty calories, and hydrating before you exercise will help release muscle-building hormones in your body which spells good news for not only your strength goals but also your metabolism.
Get enough sleep
One of the keys to losing or preventing weight gain is getting enough sleep. It has been found out that we end up eating more when we are sleep-deprived. A recent study, for example, showed that participants who got only four hours of sleep ended up consuming 300 more calories than when they were well rested.
Practice portion control
Being mindful of how much you are eating is good practice. It can take a few minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full, so get in the habit of knowing how much an actual serving size is, and you will be less likely to add packs due to overeating.
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 is just a drop in the ocean of your 24-hour day. Within minutes of sitting down, your calorie burn plunges to about one calorie per minute. Standing will burn just shy of double the calories, but walking around the office will burn 3 – 5 times as many calories.
Walk or cycle to work
You will 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 is 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.
Spend more time playing with your kids
Kids and pets are a double calorie-burning opportunity. The more active, the better it is. Naturally, if you have got a pet sloth for instance, play-time probably isn’t going to cut it.
Get active during lunch
Most nine-to-fivers can fit in a good 30 – 45 minute workout (even if it is just low-intensity cardio like walking) during their lunch. It will burn calories and boost your mood – work out that stress, and come back feeling great.
Use bags as dumbbells
Letting someone else load your groceries or carry your suitcase is an opportunity missed for strengthening and calorie burning. Carry your groceries, balanced with a bag in each hand, even if you have to make several trips.
Energize household chores
Become very enthusiastic with your chores. Just do it all with gusto. When you think of them as not just chores, but also little calorie burners, suddenly chores become a lot more fun. The side effect is that where you live becomes spotless.
Use those commercials
Do not 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 and healthier, you will start seeing them everywhere you look.
Have a ball at work
Replace your desk chair with a giant exercise ball. You have to engage the core muscles to maintain stability. Though replacing the desk chair with an exercise ball is not that very practical, you may try if possible.
You can set a timer to ring hourly. When it goes off, stand up, and sit down slowly four times. This will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch, and you will be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day. That is a great way to strengthen your lower body.
Play waiting games
Don't just sit there while your computer is downloading or the copier is collating. Do a stretch – place both hands behind your head, open your elbows, and lean back. Try balancing on one leg, or do a few buttocks squeezes.