Is it really possible to burn calories without exercising?
What if I’m super busy or hate exercise and I just can’t fit it in?
It’s the holy grail right?
Well for newspaper headlines it probably is but here at Fit School we tend to think of exercise as something nice to do rather than a chore.
That said, if you can expend more calories outside of your exercise sessions this can really help towards your energy profit and loss accounts.
Many people would benefit from making some really simple changes to the way they do every day tasks. Like cycling to your local shop rather than taking the car, like walking to school rather than driving, like doing your shopping in a supermarket rather than getting it delivered, or like cooking from scratch rather than grabbing a ready meal.
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
NEAT refers the the way our metabolism increases through any activity, not necessarily a specific type of exercise. For example, our metabolic rate increases just by standing rather than sitting.
Brushing your teeth standing up is better for you than performing the same task seated.
Getting up to change the television channel (do you remember that?) uses up a couple of calories compared with the close to zero expenditure of your fingers on the remote control.
If you sit at your computer a lot, consider a standing desk or just standing up for a bit!
If you use a wearable tracker, notice the calories expended from just pottering around tidying, washing up or doing the laundry.
This isn’t the type of exercise activity that’s going to improve your fitness levels, challenge your cardio-vascular system, increase your muscle mass or build bone density (you do really need to do that stuff too) but it is better than the sedentary equivalent. Finding excuses to be active creates a positive mindset too for long term health changes.
Here are a few ways to burn an extra 50 calories throughout the day:
- Go for an 8-10 minute brisk walk.
- Empty all the bins in the house.
- Hang out a load of washing (and take it all in again later). Given the British weather you could get a serious workout going on with this one!
- Vacuum for 10 minutes.
- Chop, weed and clear in the garden for 15 minutes.
Don’t over complicate it. Yes, an exercise class or run is great for the soul and for your cardio-vascular fitness but when it comes to increasing your calories out, just move more.
If it’s the school holidays and you have kids around, so can’t get your regular workouts in, just take the kids out for a walk! You might not get a big sweat on but it’s still better than staying still and provides a great opportunity to talk too.
If you like this, check out 13 ways exercise can help prevent disease or Forget gyms and bootcamps. 30 minutes of exercise is all you need.