Calories—how many you consume and how many you burn determine whether you lose, gain, or stay the same weight.
If you want to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. One way to do this is to eat fewer calories than you burn. We know, easier said than done. That’s why so many of us struggle to lose weight.
You’ve probably been there yourself. You carefully count every single calorie you put in your mouth and limit your portions. Your willpower is tested on a daily basis.
Then one day, you decide to eat “just one more” potato chip. Before you know it, you’ve finished one entire bag. So you tell yourself to try again next week. Next week becomes next month, then next year, then never.
The other way to create a calorie deficit is to burn more calories than you eat.
“But I hate exercise!” you protest. Don’t worry, burning calories can be fun! And it doesn’t always mean exercise.
Before we share some useful calorie-burning life hacks, let’s take a quick look at why being active is good for you.
Benefits of Exercising and Burning Calories
- Improved strength and stamina
- Better sleep
- Reduced stress
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Increased alertness
- Better mood and outlook
Now let’s dive into six awesome strategies to help you burn more calories.
1. DYI (Do It Yourself) Fitness Tips
Your home is a good place to get a good workout. Instead of hiring help, do household chores and yard work yourself and get ready to burn some serious calories.
How many calories can you burn by doing housecleaning and outdoor activities?
- Dusting, taking out the trash: 120-170 calories per hour
- Doing the laundry, mopping, vacuuming: 150-200 calories per hour
- Washing windows, cleaning the car: 175-250 calories per hour
- Taking care of the kids: 300-600 calories per hour
- Gardening: 200-400 calories per hour
- Mowing the lawn: 250-350 calories per hour
- Raking and bagging leaves: 350-450 calories per hour
- Landscaping, shoveling snow, and other heavy work: 400-600 calories per hour
Tip: You can burn even more calories by going old school, e.g., using a push mower instead of a power mower, and making things more challenging, e.g., moving rocks one at a time instead of using a wheelbarrow.
2. Keep Moving at Work
While there are some jobs that require a good amount of physical activity, most of us have desk jobs that burn only 120-150 calories per hour and wreak havoc on our postures.
Here are some ways you can stay active at the office:
- If you drive to work, park in a spot that’s far from the entrance.
- If you commute, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Take the stairs instead of using the elevator.
- Set an alarm to go off every hour. When it does, stand up and walk around for 10 minutes.
- Sit on a stability ball. This not only burns a few extra calories, but also strengthens the core.
- If your workplace has the budget for it, ask your boss to invest in a treadmill desk or bike workstation.
3. Don’t Skip Meals
You may be tempted to skip meals in order to limit your caloric intake, but eating actually burns calories and keeps your metabolism humming along nicely.
According to the American Dietetic Association, chewing, digesting, and absorbing food boosts your metabolism. In fact, the more often you eat, the more frequently it speeds up. When you miss meals or don’t eat on time, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.
So make sure you have three healthy meals and some healthy snacks a day, especially breakfast. In the morning, your cortisol level is at its peak and your body is ready to turn calories into muscle. This only happens at this time of day, so take advantage of it.
4. Get More Sleep
This one’s easy as you don’t really have to do anything. Just go to bed earlier!
Research has shown that sleep helps maintain a healthy weight. A long-term study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology discovered that women who slept seven to eight hours a night were at low risk for major weight gain. Meanwhile, those who slept 6 hours a night were 12 percent more likely to gain weight, and those who got at most 5 hours were 32 percent more likely to pile on the pounds.
Another study found that people who slept well lost more fat than muscle, and those who slept poorly gained weight.
When you’re sleep-deprived, you become more stressed and tend to overeat, so aim for seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night.
5. Lift Weights
A lot of women avoid strength training for fear of bulking up. But the truth is, lifting weights is a great way to improve your figure and metabolism!
Women who lift burn 100 more calories over a period of 24 hours than those who don’t. And for every pound of muscle you put on, you burn about 50 extra calories per day.
Researchers have found that regular weight training increases basal metabolic rate by 15 percent, so you’re still burning more calories than the next person even when you’re at rest.
Be sure to go for a weightlifting routine that targets your entire body and not just your arms or legs. And you don’t have to do anything too crazy. Just 20-30 minutes a day, 3 times a week is enough to build muscle.
6. Laugh More Often
Laughter really is the best medicine—it strengthens the immune system, lowers blood sugar levels, and promotes better sleep.
And yes, laughter also burns calories. A small study discovered that 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn 50 calories. Which makes sense, since laughter and exercise have very similar effects.
Of course, you’re not going to see drastic physical changes just by laughing, but these things add up. So surround yourself with people who make you laugh and watch your favorite comedies frequently!
As you can see, most of the life hacks we shared are easy to incorporate into daily life. And before you know it, you’ll have burned off those extra calories. Which of these strategies will you try first?
Being obsessed with running, Chau Nguyen decided to build his own blog Running Addicted. Here you”ll find a whole lot of information, from helpful tips and advice to the best gear for running. Chau recommends this article for people have to work on their feet all day.