Exercising doesn’t have to mean sweating away in a gym every day.
Did you know that playing with the kids for an hour and mowing the lawn for 30 mins can burn up to 500 calories? And there are loads of other ways to burn fat without even trying.
See our great guide to burning calories with everyday activities.
Cleaning the windows – 250kcals/hour
According to a new infographic from AXA, cleaning your windows can burn anywhere between 170-250 calories per hour – that’s the equivalent of two bags of crisps!
Burn more calories: Really emphasise your movements to maximise stretch, and try squatting every time you bend down to dip your sponge in your bucket.
Taking a hot bath – 126kcals/hour
Experts from Loughborough University have said that simply lying in a 40 degree bath can be more effective than cycling for calorie burning and lowering blood sugar!
The science behind it is that by raising your body temperature, heat shock proteins are released, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels. An hour long bath is equal to about 25-30 minutes of walking, which is definitely the best excuse we’ve heard for an extra-long soak. The only catch is, does anyone ever spend as long as an hour in the tub?
Burn more calories: Have your bath after a meal – the heat is also said to reduce the blood sugar spikes that often happen after eating.
Laughing – 78kcals/hour
Believe it or not, having a giggle burns over a calorie per minute. Sounds like a small amount, but think of it this way: an episode of Friends lasts half an hour, and you’re guaranteed to be laughing for most of that! 30 calories per episode is not bad at all, and it gives you yet another excuse to binge-watch…
Burn more calories: Book to see a stand-up comedian with a friend – just sit back and think of all those calories burnt!
Making the bed – 260kcals/hour
Okay, so you’d probably have to be working in a hotel to have enough beds for it to take you an hour to change them, but according to research by MuscleFood.com, changing the linen of a family of four’s beds can burn 65 calories in 15 minutes, the same as a mile-long power walk. And once you know how often you should change your bedding, you’ll probably have to do it more frequently…
Burn more calories:Bend and stretch while you work to elongate your muscles and put more effort into each movement.
Gardening – 416kcals/hour
Just 30 minutes of pottering in the garden can burn over 200 calories, so it’s worth rolling up your sleeves and getting muddy. Focus on digging where possible – it’s a great workout for your shoulder and abdominal muscles.
Burn more calories: Mow the lawn! An hour’s mowing burns 325 calories, the same as a 20-minute HIIT class. Lunge as you go for an even bigger burn.
Laundry – 78kcals/hour
The calorie burn here might seem like a low number in comparison to other chores, until MuscleFood.com points out that loading and unloading the machine, hanging and folding is the equivalent of 100 sit ups!
Burn more calories:Take items upstairs by person or wardrobe, rather than in one big pile – it’ll be easier to organise and you’ll give your legs a workout too.
Walking – 185 kcals/hour
We all know that walking is better for you than hopping on the bus or in the car, but when you think about how many calories you can burn with just one hour of walking a day – it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Burn more calories: Add small weights (or tinned food) to your handbag (just remember you have them in there when you’re in the shops!)
Brisk walking – 360 kcals/hour
The school run is never a gentle walk with the kids is it? Well that rushed walk/run to the school gates is actually burning calories – so you can feel a little better about being a bit disorganised in the mornings!
Burn more calories: Arrange with other mums to do a group brisk walk home from the school gates.
Cycling – 300 kcals/hour
A bike ride has got to be one of the more fun ways to burn calories. Take the kids on a regular bike ride on Sundays to get a dose of fresh air, quality family time – and exercise you’ll actually enjoy.
Burn more calories: Pick routes that have slight inclines to increase the resistance. Work your way up to that big hill you’ve been dreading!
Light housework/cleaning – 240 kcals/hour
Unless you’re one of those lucky people who actually enjoy cleaning, it’s worth bearing in mind that the dreaded task is actually burning calories.
Burn more calories: Pull in your stomach muscles at regular intervals to strengthen your core as you work.
Ironing – 171 kcals/hour
One of the most despised household chores, but did you know that ironing actually burns calories?
Burn more calories: It’ll take a bit of co-ordination, but try and introduce a few squats while standing at the ironing board (maybe make sure no one can see you do this.)
Washing up – 171 kcals/hour
That dishwasher is a good timesaver but it ain’t gonna burn any calories for you! Putting on the marigolds can burn almost 200 calories an hour (although we hope you don’t have to do a full hour of washing up a day!)
Burn more calories: Invest in a small step machine to use while at the sink.
Washing the car – 343 kcals/hour
Be honest, do you normally leave the car washing to the other half – and maybe the kids? Grab a sponge and burn almost 350 calories!
Burn more calories: Play some music while you’re washing and have a little boogie as you go.
Playing with the kids – 231 kcals/hour
They’re little bundles of energy and just one hour of chasing the kids about can burn over 200 calories – so just imagine what a whole day will do!
Burn more calories: Do high energy games and activities to increase your exercise and hopefully tire them out a little!
Dancing – 260 kcals/hour
Who doesn’t love a good boogie? An hour a day of dancing is a fun way to shed some pounds and you don’t even have to go out. Wack on a music channel and have a dance with the family.
Burn more calories: Take inspiration from Zumba and add a few exercises into your dance repertoire.
Watching a scary film – 184 kcals/film
It’s true: going to the cinema could actually burn calories – but only if you’re watching something scary. One study says that levels of adrenalin, the hormone that is released when we’re nervous or excited, can increase our metabolic rate to the extent that we burn a third more calories than usual. Not quite enough to work out our bucket of popcorn, admittedly, but every little helps…
Burn more calories: Go with your gut reaction – if you feel your muscles tense with fear, hold them in for 10 extra seconds for an additional mini workout.
Painting/DIY – 383 kcals/hour
It doesn’t need to be done every weekend but rest assured that when you do have to give the house a lick of paint, it counts as quite a good exercise.
Burn more calories: A roller requires more physical effort than a paint brush so, where you can, opt for a roller.
Shopping – 181 kcals/hour
Ah-ha! We knew it was good for us!
Burn more calories: Well surely buying more things and spending longer shopping will burn more calories?
Sex 50-100 kcals/hour
Do we really need another reason?
Burn more calories: Vary positions as much as you can to work different muscles. (Take a sneak peak at our 40 favourites)
Sleeping – 71 kcals/hour
Wonderful, wonderful sleep. Every hour really does count.
Burn more calories: Erm, more sleep?