Ever since I got caught jogging in place folding laundry by my neighbor, I have become a little more self-conscious about the techniques I employ to burn extra calories and/or get more steps throughout the day. Even if you aren’t sold on wearing a pedometer yet (click here to find out why you should be), you can still lose weight and tone up with only a slight effort. Of course the more you do, the better your results will be, but here are a few easy calorie burners to work into your day that won’t make your neighbors or co-workers think you’re crazy.
- Tighten your abs. Yep, that’s it. Simply tighten your abdominal muscles for a few seconds and then relax. You can literally do this anywhere. I’m doing them right now, sitting in my office chair typing this article. I also do them while I’m driving a lot. Core strengthening without crunches! Added bonus, this will improve your posture too!
- Speaking of posture, pull those shoulders back and stick out your chest. Guess what? You just worked your back muscles! Also, you burned an extra calorie and you look thinner just from straightening up.
- Kegels. That’s right, they’re not just for pregnant ladies and new moms. If you want to switch things up, concentrate on the back side and tighten your gluteus maximus. Make sure you’re sitting when you do these or at least have your back to the wall. You don’t want people behind you thinking you’re using a really odd flirting technique!
- Fidget. While you’re sitting at your desk, bounce your leg up and down or drum your fingers on the desk. You’re not going to lose a pound a day doing this, but you will burn a few extra calories. Standing in line at the store? Sway or rock back and forth on your feet. Pace while you’re on the phone.
- Get up and walk around at least once every 30 minutes. Even if you only walk a few feet to the window and back, getting up will get your blood pumping a little and break you out of sloth mode, actually improving your productivity. If you have stairs available, use those to burn even more calories.
- In between fidgeting and random walking around, take a few seconds to lace your hands together with your palms facing out and enjoy a nice stretch.
- Act like every toilet is in a public bathroom. Even if you’re in the comfort of your own home, squat like you’re using the gas station restroom. You’ll burn a few calories and strengthen your legs at the same time.
- Move during commercials. You may not want to commit to walking on the treadmill for your one hour viewing of CSI, but surely you can handle 2 minutes of exercise broken up by 10-15 minutes of couch potato time. If you’re really in lazy mood, just get up and move to a different seat. Looking to burn a little more? Pick up a few items and put them away. More ambitious? Run up and down the stairs a few times or do jumping jacks. Overachievers: change exercises every commercial (e.g. 30 seconds of pushups, 30 seconds of crunches, 30 seconds of star jumps, 30 seconds of high knees)
- Work harder not smarter. Sure, it makes a lot of sense to load up all the laundry in a basket and carry it up/down all at once, but you’ll burn a lot more calories if you do it in several trips. And yes, the guest bathroom is 2 feet away, but wouldn’t you rather use the upstairs bathroom?
- Walk every aisle at the store. You’ll score several extra steps each aisle and you might just stumble upon something you forgot to put on your list.
I didn’t list the obvious tips like parking farther away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking instead of driving when you can since I know most of you have seen those before. If you have some other suggestions though, please share them in the comments.