The Art of Burning Calories All Day Long
To gym or not to gym? Most people focus on trying to find time for a 30-minute workout. And yet, moving throughout the day is just as important for everyone, from the more sedentary to the most devoted gym-goers. Don’t get me wrong – the last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from devoting time to exercise. But what if I told you that you can burn calories around the clock? It’s not just about that 30-minute workout. It’s also what you do for the other 23-½ hours that really makes a lasting impact on your health and waistline. Here are some guidelines on how to burn calories conveniently and shed fat feasibly.
Rev up your routines. First things first: Start by adding simple exercises to your basic daily rituals. Some examples:
- Instead of leaning on the sink while you brush your teeth, do a wall sit: Standing with your back a couple feet from the wall, bend your knees and lower into a 90-degree angle squat position, and hold it there for 15-60 seconds. Suddenly your morning brush isn’t just about your teeth and gums – now it’s a great leg and glute strengthener, too.
- Don’t just do the dishes – try some calf raises while you wash, and shoulder blade retractions while you dry.
- And when you’re watching TV, make the commercial break your fitness break, alternating lower-body-firming plies with core-strengthening planks.
Stand up for yourself. Doctors, research journals, even the World Health Organization agree: A sedentary lifestyle may be to blame for a host of illnesses, from fatty liver disease to diabetes, even for people who work out regularly but spend too much time sitting. Sure, we live in a computer-based world, and we can’t always jump up from our desks for a quick jog. But we can do a little more multitasking. For adding activity to your day, it’s the little stuff that counts:
- Move your trashcan away from your desk, so that instead of a reach-and-toss, you’ve got to go for a short walk to throw things away.
- Instead of emailing your co-workers down the hall, take a stroll down to their offices to say hello in person.
- Set a goal of 10,000 steps a day (it takes around 2,000 steps to walk a mile). Treat yourself to an activity monitor as a fun way to stay on track. Right now I am a fan of the Nike+ Fuelband, or Fitbit. Wear them throughout the day, and get an easy read on indicators such as steps taken, distance traveled, even calories burned. When you see how close you are to your goal, you’ll be amazed what a great motivator it is to get out for that after-dinner walk.
- And then there’s always the classic: learn to love the stairs, or at least, the calorie burn. A person climbing stairs uses around 10 calories per minute, or 360 calories in just 20.
Meet a friend for a drink. A smoothie, that is. If you find yourself having to decide between a workout and social time with your girlfriends, try combining! And when it comes to keeping exercise in a busy schedule, there is no better tool than the buddy system.
- Make a plan to meet for a Zumba class at the gym, and have some laughs with your best pals as you dance your cares away.
- Instead of the traditional happy hour, refuel with a rejuvenating green drink or a chocolaty, low-cal protein shake.
- For those certain long-distance loved ones who love to catch up by phone, head out for some fresh air with your cell, and walk and talk. Isn’t it about time we put the “mobile” back into “mobile phone”?
You can tone up and burn calories in a way that’s totally convenient to you. It just takes a little bit of creativity. You don’t have to dramatically reschedule your day. All you have to do is find new ways to add movement throughout it. Start with these tips, and get creative with your own!