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Paige Waehner

How to Burn More Calories Right Now

By August 28, 2013

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If you want to lose weight, you have to exercise and, as we all know, just the word exercise conjures up all kinds of torturous things like sweating and breathing really hard and jumping up and down and, quite possibly, dying.

If that concerns you, here's some good news: Improving your health requires much less effort. In fact, all you really have to do is move around more throughout the day. Of course there's a study about this which was published in Science. In the study, experts compared self-described lean couch potatoes and overweight couch potatoes and found that the overweight folks sat an average of 164 minutes longer than the leaner subjects. The leaner folks actually burned an extra 350 calories per day just by moving around more. 350 calories is almost like a workout, y'all.

Of course, that isn't the only contributor to weight gain, but isn't it intriguing to think that spontaneous movement could make a difference in your waistline?

So, just like those extra food calories can add up to weight gain, those extra calories you burn just by getting out of the chair more often can add up to weight loss over time. The question now is, how could you be more active today? I have some ideas for you:

Instead of: Do this:
Sitting at your desk (24 calories) Stand while you work (37 calories)
Hiring a landscaper (0 calories) Cut your own grass with a pushmower (96 calories)
Sitting and reading (16 calories) Read while doing some light stretches (40 calories)
Emailing a co-worker (23 calories) Take a walk and talk to them in person (40 calories)
Watching TV (15 calories) Go bowling (48 calories)
Walking to the closest bathroom (40 calories) Take the stairs to one on a different floor (98 calories)

(Numbers are for 10 minutes of activity for a 160-lb person).

So, what could you do today to burn a few extra calories? Make a list and try to do at least 3 things on it by the end of the day.

August 22, 2006 at 12:30 pm
(1) David Harkreader says:

I don’t know whose lawn you’re mowing, but here in Texas there is NO WAY that walking up a flight of stairs to go to the restroom can come any where near to mowing my yard with a pushmower, calorie-wise! Whoever wrote this must be mowing little, tiny, 10 X 10 grass lots. My yard takes 3 hours to mow. In the heat of summer, that’s a heck of a lot of calories being burned. Even if I was constipated I couldn’t burn more walking up the stairs and going to the potty. You need to refigure this!

August 22, 2006 at 12:55 pm
(2) Paige says:

The calories listed are for 10 minutes of each activity. Obviously, the longer you do them, the more calories you’ll burn. :-)

August 22, 2006 at 10:21 pm
(3) Keith says:

I bought a pedometer recently and used it to track my movements during the day. I have to walk around a lot at work to various co-workers, to my car (1 mi. from the office, and not by choice!), around campus, etc. By lunch time I have clocked over 10,000 steps!

August 23, 2006 at 5:04 pm
(4) Mary says:

What I do at work is walk a mile on my 15 minute morning break, and again at my 15 minute afternoon break. Keeps me out of the snack bar. Good for fibromyalgia and osteoporosis, not to mention calories burnt and muscles built and posture improved because I concentrate on it.

August 24, 2006 at 7:18 pm
(5) Gail Lester says:

I have been searching for exercise programs. All of the information is great for the average person however I have M.S. and many days I dont have the strength or energy to do many of these things. I am looking for something geared to persons with M.S. I guess my best bet is to have my primary doctor refer me to a physical therapist when I see him next month.

August 27, 2006 at 3:54 am
(6) Valerie says:

I heard that you can burn more calories by taking a cold shower. Is that true?

August 29, 2006 at 9:14 pm
(7) Kris says:

Being a lifelong teacher and avid reader, I would never suggest reading while stretching! I do agree that the more you move,the less calories consumed, and the structured exercises will help the person obtain the goal of a healthier you.

March 22, 2007 at 1:44 pm
(8) Hether says:

I have been strength training for the past 3 weeks 2x per day and walking the other for for 30 – 45 mins per day except for Sundays. I know that muscle weighs more than fat, but how long does it take to actually see the “fat” weight coming off on the scale? Or should I guage my progress by how clothes fit or by body measurements? I’d like to have 30 lbs off by Christmas and it feels slow going.

April 29, 2007 at 8:16 pm
(9) JV says:

Hello ,im on a diet, i started at 150
and now im down to 124, final goal weight is 110:) i hope to be there soon, maybe for my 20th birthday, it would be nice to be down to the weight im used to. Im always looking for new exersizes, so far i do lots with my purple exersize ball, i do 200 or more bounces on it, and 50 or more push ups on it, also do alot of cleaning/walking. Looking for new intresting exersizes to do, and good luck everyone on there weightloss!!

May 24, 2007 at 6:10 pm
(10) Dee says:

Interesting, I will keep the general idea in mind. I just started my diet 3 weeks ago. So far I lost 6 pounds on Weight Watchers.

May 27, 2007 at 5:24 am
(11) Beastrife says:

David, that amount of calories burnt is that for 10 minutes. Doing 10 minutes of lawn mowing burns less calories than walking 10 minutes of stairs. Your lawn needs 3 hours to mow, thus you shall burn that amount of calories times 18 when you finish mowing your lawn.

August 11, 2007 at 1:20 am
(12) Karolina says:

About cold showers and weight-loss I know of an alternative:Drinking 2 glasses (about 1/2 quart) of thoroughly chilled water from the fridge (i.e. ice-cold) will rev up your metabolism and increase your calorie-burning for several hours. In Germany we even do it in the winter — you get used to it. Added benefit: it contributes to the daily water intake we all need.

July 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm
(13) brooke says:

i am 15 years old and i weigh about 175 pounds. it is really hard for me and i am trying to loose about 60 pounds. i am really hopeing that this will help but if anybody has anymore advice please tell me… please!

August 28, 2013 at 10:18 am
(14) pizza eater says:

Brooke, you can not out train a crappy diet. I’ll repeat, you can NOT out train a crappy diet. Unless you are committed to being active for every waking minute you will need to examine the things you are eating and drinking.

How much sugar do you eat daily? Soda?
What do you eat for breakfast? Loaded with carbs with little or no protein?

Too many are concerned about dietary fat and eat way too many simple carbs (google it) Dietary fat does not make you fat. Eating too much simple carbs will make you fat.

I suggest doing a search on Dr. Peter Attia. He has a very informative blog called the eating academy.

Don’t look for shortcuts. Do your homework and follow through on your goals. Good luck.

P.S. for tips on getting more exercise throughout the day. Get off the bus or subway one or two stops before you normally get off and walk the rest. Park at the furthest end of the parking lot at work, supermarket, etc.

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