10 ways to burn calories throughout the day

For many of us who work or stay at home to raise our children, finding a free contiguous hour of the day to perform traditional exercising is difficult at best and impossible at worst.  Following these 10 easy steps while going about your day can help you burn calories while minimizing the impact on your daily schedule.

1.  Wake up 30 minutes early and do a short workout

by mikebaird, on Flickr

Exercising first thing in the morning has major advantages.  It helps you wake up, provides you with energy for the start of your day, provides an immediate sense of accomplishment, and doesn’t interfere with your daily routine.  I know I struggle with exercising after work, because life happens and my best intentions fall quickly by the way side – work is long, then when I get home I help my wife with the kids (sound familiar?).  Exercising in the morning allows me to have “me” time before my day begins.

2.  Park further away

Parking as far away from your place of employment the store you are visiting is a great way to force yourself to walk some more, and it doesn’t take up a ton of your time during the day.  Back in 2007, I started parking as far away from my place of employment as I could, and it’s forced me to burn tens of thousands of calories since.  My family now does the same when we go to the grocery store or the shopping mall. 

3.  Use the stairs instead of elevators or escalators

Much like the parking suggestion, this will help you take extra steps during the day, and in many cases, will save you time because you are not waiting for an elevator to show up.  Try this the next time you go to an airport.  Every extra step you take is another calorie burned.

4.  Do quick exercises to burn off nervous energy

by Scott Ableman, on Flickr

Feeling nervous or getting frustrated.  Stand up, stretch, and do 10 calf raises.  Stress and inactivity are the biggest energy drains throughout your day — proactively fight them to boost your energy levels and burn a few calories in the process.  

5.  Take the long way to your next meeting at work

If you work in an office, sometimes that extra couple minutes of reflective time walking can also help put you in a better state of mind.  Besides, who really want to go to that next meeting…?   

6.  Drink hot herbal and green teas

by Sifu Renka, on Flickr

Herbal and green teas have many nutritional and health benefits that are well documented, like providing your body with a natural source of anti-oxidants (Julie Edgar wrote a great article about this at WebMD.com).  But many hot teas also can provide you with a small shot in the arm of caffeine, and can even help boost your metabolism, allowing your body to burn more calories at rest. 

7.  Keep the house cooler in the winter

Don’t go overboard, but dropping the thermostat a few degrees will force your body to burn more calories to keep you warm, and should help lower your heating bill.  (If you have young children, or an elderly person living with you, I would not recommend doing this!!)

8.  Leverage your lunch hour 

Walk around outside on nice days while you eat your lunch, and clear your mind.  If you are a stay at home mom, take the kids for a walk outside, and help both you and your children burn calories. 

9.  Show your significant other how much you care for them 

by baliboro, on Flickr

So I’m not going to go into too much detail since this is a family blog.  Doing “that” is a great way to burn calories and to keep your relationship healthy.  Enough said.

10.  Eat smaller portions and “zero” calorie foods  

Digestion burns calories. Some “diet” programs have the concept that some fruits and vegetables are “zero” or negative calories.  This is because your body expends more calories chewing and digesting the food that the food provides as nutrients.  Many high fiber foods like Broccoli are great for this purpose.

HealthDiscovery.Net has a great Calorie Calculator that can give you an idea how many calories you will burn doing different activities.  Here is an example of how many calories a day you can burn by following some of the items list above:

Activity Name Calories Burned
Exercising 30 minutes in the morning                   300                     
Additional 5 minutes walking to and from your car. 32
Additional 2 minutes walking up and down steps 13
Power walk for 15 minutes over lunch 120
Cap the night off in a “romantic” fashion 30
Total: 495

By following these easy steps, you will start burning more calories than normal, increase your activity level, and even boost your energy levels!

** This article is for amusement purposes only.  Anytime you change your diet or increase your exercise level, you should consult a physician first.  This article should not be used as a substitute for speaking with your doctor.  **

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