You know to step back from the local and to hop on the express instead; you grab coffee from the shop that has your order practically waiting for you at the same time each morning; you've checked all your email on your phone by the time you take your first step into work. You are the master of efficiency.
So if you had the chance to burn through an extra 100 calories a day with little to no effort, you'd be willing to give it a shot, right? Below are a bunch of easy, time-saving ways of slashing through calories that barely require any extra thought. Those small adjustments each day could make a huge difference in the long run.
Too basic for you? Tell us below how you find creative ways of burning extra calories throughout your day.
- Aim for 1 Mile. On average, it takes one mile of walking or running to burn 100 calories, says nutritional biochemist and exercise physiologist Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D. “So the faster you can cover the mile, the faster you can burn off the 100 calories.” A treadmill calculates your distance as your walk or run, while four laps on a running track will constitute a mile. You can also use Google’s pedometer map to plan a mile course around your house or office, or use a traditional pedometer: 2,000 steps equals about one mile.
- Stop Sitting and Start Bouncing. Do you spend at least two hours a day sitting? Well, trading in your office chair for an exercise ball can help you burn an extra 50 calories an hour, says personal trainer Monica Vazquez from New York Sports Clubs. How? “When seated on an exercise ball, you engage your core muscles more,” Vazquez says. “By using all these teeny, tiny muscles you burn more calories just by sitting.”
- Do a Quick Gym Workout. JoAnne Ragan, 32, of Akron, Ohio, used a heart rate monitor equipped with a calorie counter to figure out how she could burn 100 calories in 15 minutes. She started with five minutes of hill climbing on the treadmill, elliptical or bike, followed by two minutes of bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises and upright rows with 8- to 10-pound weights. Next comes five minutes of interval training--alternating walking and running on the treadmill--and finally, three minutes of squats, lunges and wall sitting. “I can’t stand cardio, so interval with strength training is my favorite,” says Ragan, who has lost 116 pounds and was a Grand Prize winner of the 2009 Weight Watchers Inspiring Stories of Change contest.
- Thirsty? Make Sure Your Water’s Cold. Don’t sip your water. Instead, drink it fast and ice cold, says Janice Taylor, weight loss coach, author and creator of the Kick in the Tush Club, which inspires dieters to stay on track. “Eight glasses of water, spaced well through the day, gives a metabolic boost that equals approximately 25 calories per glass,” Taylor says. Your body has to put in some effort to warm that water, which leads to more calories burned.
- Treat Yourself to a Hot Beverage. In addition to getting your fill of cold water, soothe yourself with a nice hot cup of coffee or green or black tea. These drinks stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, and stimulation leads to calorie burn, says Lisa Davis, Ph.D., vice president of research and development for Medifast. Studies show that three cups of green tea a day can burn anywhere from 78 to 106 calories, says Dr. Davis.
- Don’t Sit Still. Fidget your way through the day. Shake your leg and tap your foot while sitting at your desk. On a long phone call? Get up and pace around. Keep yourself moving and within one hour you can burn up to100 calories, Davis says.
- Try a Housework Work-out. Domestic duties can deliver quite a workout. According to CalorieLab.com, a 165-pound woman can burn 100 calories by doing one of these chores:
* washing dishes for an hour
* vacuuming or mopping for 30 minutes
* cooking for 55 minutes
* ironing or grocery shopping for one hour
* carrying around a small child for 40 minutes
- Go Ahead, Jump! Stash a jump rope in your car, your purse or in your desk at work. When you have some time to kill, start jumping. “A jump rope is a fun, portable piece of equipment that can quickly get your heart rate up,” says Jessica Matthews, continuing education coordinator for the American Council on Exercise. “It will have a 140-pound person burning around 100 calories in just 10 minutes.”
- Dance like No One’s Watching. Regretting that you opted for a frappuccino instead of that (lower calorie) iced coffee? Turn on the radio and you can burn off most of the extra calories in a 20-minute dance session, says Matthews. Have an infant or toddler? Dance with him in your arms and those calories will disappear even faster.
- Go Play! Your kids can be your best exercise buddies. A 30-minute game of Frisbee, 10 minutes of rollerblading, and 15 minutes of swimming or Wii boxing each burn approximately 100 calories, Matthews says. Have an infant? Thirty minutes of peek-a-boo crunches, baby bench presses and squatting while holding your baby will burn 100 calories and deliver a wave of baby grins and giggles.