Working out in the gym is great but just because you’re not in the gym doesn’t mean you can’t burn a few extra calories with some simple activities.
Below are 10 simple activities you can fit into your daily life that will enable you to burn extra calories – as well as revving up your metabolism!
So what are you waiting for… go for it!
1. Jumping Jacks – I recently touted this awesome exercise in my new Change It Up column as a way to boost your fitness levels within your existing workout. The average person can burn up to 100 calories by performing Jumping Jacks for just 10 minutes. But don’t expect to be able to work for 10 minutes nonstop. Make no mistake – jacks are hard!
2. Lawn Mowing – Who needs a tractor? If you have to do housework you might as well burn calories. I actually run with my push mower when I cut the lawn and can tell you I work up a great sweat. I would say conservatively that if you walk fast while cutting the lawn, you’d hit 100 calories in less than 20 minutes. So cut the grass and slash the fat!
3. Stairs – Whether in your house or at work, using the stairs for exercise is great. It doesn’t get any easier to exercise people. Simply walk up and down for your stairs for 10 minutes and burn 100 calories. And if you feel especially energetic, run or take them two at a time.
4. Wash Your Car – It’s no secret that our automated society is a huge contributor to our lack of activity. Well instead of going to the car wash, break out the bucket and sponge and get washing. The personal trainer in me says be sure to switch hands when washing but however you do it car washing is a great functional activity. It uses all the muscles in the body in various planes of motion. You’ll see 100 calories gone in about 30 minutes.
5. Burpees! – Ok so maybe these shouldn’t be listed in the easiest ways to burn 100 calories, but you all know they’re my favorite! I’d estimate that if you were able to perform burpees for 5 minutes straight you’d certainly hit the big 100. And the reason is simple – they’re freakin’ hard and use every ounce of your body. When it comes to time versus benefit ratio, it’s hard to top a burpee!
6. Chop Wood – If you’ve got an axe or even a sledgehammer – you’ve got a terrific tool to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes. Medicine ball chops are simply gym versions of the real thing, and we all know the real deal is always better. Again, be sure to switch sides and swing with both arms to make sure you stay balanced. Chops are great for overall body and cardiovascular conditioning.
7. Jump! – My second most favorite exercise is the jump squat. I love how my legs get that rubbery feeling and when I’m done I have a hard time walking. Plus they also seriously challenge your endurance and tap into the fast twitch muscle fibers. You can’t jump squat for 10 minutes straight, but you can shoot for sets of 25-50 with 60 seconds rest between. In 10 minutes you should hit the magic number.
8. Vacuuming – Yep more housework! Did you know cleaning the carpet with a vacuum could burn 100 calories in about 20 minutes? As with the lawn, I like to speed along with this chore. I know it sounds funny, but I switch the arms I push with and really get a burn in my shoulders! Plus I like making those fancy designs in the carpet!
9. Get Your Groove On – It is true, I have taken Zumba and no, there’s no video! And let me tell you, dancing is hard and burns a ton of calories. But you don’t need to take a full hour-long class to reap the benefits. Just 20 minutes of dancing will burn about 100 calories. So grab your iPod or tune in to your favorite music station and move those hips!
10. Biking – We generally associate burning calories with hard work and high level exercise. But even a leisurely bike ride with family and friends burns calories. During a nice easy ride, in about 30 minutes you can burn 100 calories and enjoy the great outdoors and good company.
Okay so 100 calories may not sound like much, but that’s 700 calories per week, 2,800 a month, which is almost the equivalent of one pound of fat. Plus it’s not just calories burned during exercise that you should be concerned with, but also the metabolic benefits following each session. Remember you want to BE fit not just look it!
And don’t forget that none of what I’ve suggested requires you to be in a gym or have fancy equipment. It really is super easy to burn 100 extra calories per day.
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