Fitness + Well-being

5 Ways to Burn Calories Without Going to the Gym

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Trust us, we get it. Some days (or weeks, or months), we just don’t want to go to the gym — we’re either too busy, too tired, or too lazy — all of which are pretty valid excuses in our book.

But, just because you don’t want to (or can’t) get your butt to the gym, it doesn’t mean your metabolism has to suffer. No matter what you’re doing, whether it be binge watching “Gossip Girl,” eating, or messing around on your laptop, you’re still burning calories. However, these calories are minimal, and — if you’re like most working people and spend most of your day sitting — you might want to think about some ways to burn calories throughout the day without ever setting foot into a gym.

As a disclaimer, your best weight-loss results come from a dedicated work-out regime and healthy eating habits — but shedding a few extra calories here and there never hurt anyone.

1. Rise and shine — and get your heart rate up, stat. Raising your heart rate in the morning is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism. Set your alarm for 10 or 15 minutes earlier than normal and commit to doing some light cardio — a few sets of jumping jacks, lunges, squats, or crunches in your bedroom will suffice. Once you kick-start the calorie burning process, it’ll continue all day. Not to mention, a little heart-rate boost will help to wake you up and increase your productivity.

2. Crank up the A.C. According to Health.com, keeping your home on the chilly side makes your body work harder to keep you warm. Working harder is code for burning calories, so lower that thermostat when you’re sleeping, watching TV, or doing just about anything to knock off a few extra calories without even thinking about it.

3. Practice deep breathing. Breathing is involuntary and second nature to us — but if you make a conscious effort to think about your breathing, you could easily burn some extra calories. When you inhale and exhale deeply, the muscles in our body contract and tighten — powerful breathing forces us to use our diaphragm. The Daily Mail suggests that while you’re sitting at your desk, in your car or on the couch, remind yourself to breathe deeply and make sure to contract your muscles on every exhale. Hello six-pack!

4. Fidget. It’s actually impressive how many calories you can burn by doing simple, hard-to-notice movements, like tapping your toe or stretching your neck. By constantly moving, even in the smallest of ways, you can burn calories all day long. Although these movements may seem small and insignificant, even the tiny boosts from smaller muscle fibers will help to raise your metabolism. One site suggests drumming your fingers, circling your ankles, stretching your arms and even rolling your eyes.

5. Chew gum. A super-easy way to burn some extra calories is popping a few pieces of gum now and then. The act of chewing keeps your jaw muscles moving, and — not only will you be burning calories — you’ll stop yourself from consuming more calories.