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Tips to Burn More Calories Without Exercising

The total number of calories we burn every day is made up of our resting metabolic rate (how many calories our bodies burn on basic functions like breathing, pumping our blood, and maintaining our body temperature), the thermic effect of food (how many calories we burn digesting what we eat), and physical activity.   Our RMR is largely based on our lean muscle mass which is increased with exercise. The thermic effect of food is stable and directly related to how many calories we eat. The physical activity caloric burn is divided into two types of activity: intentional exercise and NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, and performed to improve one or more aspects of physical fitness. NEAT is one of the keys to increasing your daily caloric burn without exercising.

Studies show that increasing NEAT helps control weight gain and can be a critical factor in determining or maintaining body weight. NEAT is basically the calories we burn for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or exercising. Fidgeting is an example of NEAT as is yardwork, walking from your car to the store, typing, and pacing while you talk on the phone. Increasing your non-exercise activity can increase your total metabolic daily rate substantially. Remember, small activities add up over your day to have a substantial impact on the total number of daily calories burned.

The following are some examples of how you can burn more calories to help control your weight every day without exercising:

  • Fidgeting
  • Tapping your feet
  • Gesturing when speaking
  • Taking the stairs
  • Carrying groceries
  • Yard work: raking or mowing the lawn or snow blowing
  • Dancing
  • Frisbee
  • Parking further away from your destination
  • Pace while talking on the phone
  • Climbing stairs rather than taking the elevator
  • Raising heels while sitting
  • House cleaning
  • Stand rather than sit
  • Walking or biking to destination rather than driving
  • Wash your car by hand
  • Leisure activities: bowling, boating, golfing, and walking
  • Walking your dog
  • Playing with your dog
  • Bathing the dog
  • Playing with the kids or grandchildren
  • Stand up and move while watching TV or during commercials
  • Use a standing desk
  • Get off the bus or train a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way
  • Pace during your kids athletic events
  • Walk in the office to deliver information to your co-workers instead of calling or emailing