10 Ways Burn Calories All Day—Without Going to the Gym

Liv Kelleher
how to burn calories without gym

Photo: WENN

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, 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 stepping foot into to a gym. 

MORE: How to Lose Body Fat: 50 Tips That Really Work

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 to 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 AC.
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.

MORE: This App Will Find—and Book!—Your Perfect Workout

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. Helllo six pack.

4. Skip the couch and sit on the floor.
Health.com offers this stellar piece of advice– avoid your couch when you can. This doesn’t mean don’t watch TV or lounge around, but just do so from the floor. When you are sitting on the floor, you have to support your own body, rather than just melt into the couch. Also, getting up and down from the ground is a workout in itself, almost like doing a set of squats.

MORE: How to De-Stress in 30 Seconds or Less With Micro-Meditation

5. 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.

6. 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.

MORE: 5 Quick Tricks To Look (and Feel) Better Instantly

7. Let your phone help you out
When you’re diligently working at a desk all day, it can be easy to forget to get up and move around every once in a while. Before you know it, you’ve been seated for four hours. A quick fix: Your phone. Set your cell to remind yourself to get up and walk around, stretch your legs, and burn some calories. You can do this by setting a series of alarms throughout the day, or, as Life Hacks suggests, downloading StandApp, which alerts you once and hour to stand up and gives you some small activity to do.

8. Drink lots of water… from a small bottle
Everyone knows how important ample water consumption is to your health—it helps flush out your body, and keep you hydrated. A good way to get those eight glasses a day? Use a small water bottle, so you’ll have to get up more often to refill it when it’s done.

MORE: The Secret to Online Dating? These 5 Profile Tips

9. Get plenty of sleep
Did you know that sleep-deprivation may make you eat more? Fitness Magazine reminds us that when you lack sleep, your system goes into stress and produces 50% more cortisol, the chemical that triggers appetite. The larger amount of cortisol in your body, the larger your appetite. Although more sleep may not burn more calories, it can help you avoid consuming more calories.

10. Take the stairs.
An oldie but a goodie: Taking the stairs is one of the best way to get a little exercise in without hitting the gym. On average, you can burn four calories for every ten stairs. That seems small, but it can really add up, especially if you commit to always skipping the elevator, be it at work, in your apartment building, or at the mall.