We all know that diet and exercise are critical to burning calories: they’re two of the most important lifestyle factors for maintaining your health.
You might not realize, however, that you can zap calories all day long, not just while you’re running or lifting weights.
Try out some of these surprising and simple ways to burn more calories.
Fidget or tap your foot
If you’re naturally fidgety, congratulations! You’re burning calories more quickly than the rest of us.
According to Health.com, a person who taps his foot, wriggles her fingers, or walks around while on the telephone burns an average of 350 additional calories per day.
This doesn’t mean taking up bad habits, like biting your fingernails or rapping a pencil on your colleague’s desk. Figure out what works for you: maybe it’s tapping a beat with your foot as you work or stretching a rubber band while you watch TV. Periodic breaks to walk around the office, even to get a glass of water, will also help you burn more calories during the day.
Whatever it is, get moving!
Get enough sleep
A study at the University of Chicago showed that people who slept for only five and a half hours were far more likely to snack during the day. In fact, those people who didn’t get enough sleep consumed over 1,000 extra calories once they woke up.
Burning calories doesn’t get easier than this: stay in bed a little longer and not only will your body continue to burn calories while you dream, but you’ll eat a more balanced diet when you’re awake.
Eat hot peppers
Add these to your meals and you’ll cut calories without even knowing it.
The capsaicin in chili and cayenne peppers, especially, causes your body to expend more energy as heat.
If you aren’t in love with spicy food, you can also take capsaicin or cayenne supplements.
Use your spare time wisely
Use your “down” time to do quick bursts of exercise, and burn more calories in just a few minutes.
When you need a break from the computer, for instance, drop and do 20 pushups. It’s not enough to get you sweaty, but it will energize you and tone your arms, too!
You could also substitute jumping jacks, standing squats, or a set of crunches. Just 60 seconds every now and then can help you burn more calories…
Read instead of watching TV
This one’s for the bookworms: not only does reading expand your mind, but you’ll also burn more calories while taking in your favorite novel!
According to AskMen.com, reading is better than TV at burning calories because your brain stays metabolically active. The NY Times backs that up with a study showing that almost any activity burns calories more effectively than watching TV, so turn off the tube and grab a book.
If you’re a mall rat, you’ll love this: all that walking around and shifting merchandise on the racks is a great way to nix calories.
Even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store, you’re likely to burn around 156 calories per hour, according to FitDay.com.
Want to increase your caloric burn even more? Park far away or buy something heavy that you’ll have to carry– but remember that the calories you shed won’t make up for going into debt over an ill-advised purchase!
If you have comedic friends, consider hanging around them a little more.
Laughing increases energy expenditure because it raises your heart rate. It’s not going to make huge changes in your weight, but it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable ways of burning more calories per day.
A study at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center showed that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day burns 10 to 40 calories, which equals around four pounds of weight loss per year.
Hop in the sack
Lastly, everyone’s favorite: if you want to burn a few more calories, find that special someone and head for the bedroom.
FitDay.com reports that you’ll burn an average of 88 calories per hour.
While none of these little tricks are going to burn more calories the way a tough bike ride or great rowing session will, when they’re put together they’re more effective than you’d expect.
See what you can do to incorporate a few more calorie burning strategies into your daily routine.