We burn calories all day long just being alive: breathing, digesting, thinking, growing. While intentional exercise, where your heart rate is elevated and your muscles are working hard, is the most effective way to burn the most calories, you can increase your daily calorie burn with small decisions throughout the day that can really add up. Use the below activities to sneak in some extra calorie burn, because every little bit counts and something is always better than nothing, right?
1. Fidgeting is Your Friend
Movement equals calories burned, simple as that. If you’re a nervous leg bouncer or pacer, you’re already ahead of the game. A 150-pound woman burns 34 calories quietly sitting, watching TV for 30 minutes compared to the 60 calories they burn when lightly fidgeting. On average, fidgeting can burn between 300 and 350 extra calories per day*, though that number will vary depending on the type. Here’s a hint: your legs are the largest muscles in your body, so to get the most bang for your buck, fidget while on your feet.
2. Laugh out Loud
According to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study, the average adult burns 1.3 calories per minute laughing. So belly laughs count as ab exercise? We’ll take it!
3. Add some Spice
Go ahead and order Thai for lunch: Research shows that chili peppers can boost your metabolic rate, causing the body to burn around 50 more calories per day and spike metabolism by 23 percent. There’s a reason you sweat when you eat spicy foods; you’re burning up, and that includes calories.
4. Chew, Chew, Chew
Chewing gum burns roughly 11 calories an hour. Not only that, but chomping on gum helps curb cravings, so you may consume fewer calories overall by avoiding mindless snacking. Make sure you opt for sugarless gum to avoid added calories and cavities. With that in mind, always opt for whole foods vs. juices. A medium-size apple is 60 calories, but you’re better off eating that than you are drinking 60 calories of apple juice because your body will burn more calories chewing and trying to digest the fiber of the whole apple.
5. Go Shopping
Shopping is the easiest way to unknowingly walk for miles. A typical shopping trip burns 156 calories per hour, and that burn increases even more if you’re carrying heavy bags, so go nuts! We’ll back you up: shopping is good for your health!
6. Start Sipping
You should be drinking water anyway, but make sure you have it on the rocks. According to Men’s Health, drinking eight glasses of ice water a day will cause your body to burn an extra 123 calories by heating that water up to body temperature.
7. Knock some Boots
The average sex session will burn 88 calories per hour, but you aren’t exactly average, are you? The more effort you put forth, the more calories you’ll burn, and bonus: the better you’ll look naked.
8. Upgrade Your Desk Chair
Using a stability ball instead of a chair will burn 260 more calories throughout the day. That’s because the instability of sitting on a ball will cause your core muscles to be engaged all day long to hold you steady. Feel free to bounce and add even more calories to that total. Remember #1: fidgeting is your friend. Or, opt for a stand-up desk for even better results.
While the act of meditating isn’t very physically taxing, stressed people burn fewer calories than calm people do, so make time for it. Meditation, or even just concentrated breathing, helps to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels which evens out hormones, making your body a calorie burning machine.
10. Go to Sleep
Getting fewer than four hours of sleep over an extended period of time will slow your metabolism, lowering the amount of calories you burn around the clock. A lack of sleep can also affect cortisol levels, which will signal your body to store fat. Experts recommend aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Who’d have thought you could lose weight by staying in bed?
*Calorie burn calculations are based on a 150 pound woman.