What is an easy way for me to burn more calories in a day?

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT

One of the easiest ways for you to burn more calories in a day is through what’s termed accidental exercise. Accidental exercise is any physical activity that you might get throughout your day-to-day routine such as doing housework, fidgeting, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a colleague’s office to talk to them instead of sending an email, etc. Moving around more throughout the day requires energy, ultimately leading to an increase in the amount of calories you burn for that 24-hour period.

Wendy Batts

As strange as it sounds, find ways to be inefficient during normal daily activity. There isn’t a need to always go to the gym to burn calories. Here are 10 quick examples of what I’m talking about…

1. Perform tasks with your non-dominant hand, for example if you are right-handed, vacuum, clean, brush your teeth etc with your left hand. The awkwardness of it will demand more calories from you as your body is trying to figure out what’s going on.
2. If you are going to be on the phone for a little bit, use a headset and pace around your office or home while on your call. The extra steps will burn more calories.
3. Use a bathroom farther away from your desk than usual
4. Park farther away from your destination and take more steps to get there
5. Park and walk into the restaurant instead of using the drive-thru
6. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store or coffee shop, alternate balancing on one leg
7. Take movement breaks at work by setting an alarm on your calendar to go off every 30-45 minutes. When it goes off, get up and stretch for a couple minutes.
8. Instead of the call, IM, text or email to a coworker, get up and walk to their desk
9. Take extra trips to and from the car with groceries by carrying fewer bags per load, this is great if you live upstairs!
10. Before you begin shopping, take a couple laps around the store first and map out your route

Good luck and enjoy!

An easy way to burn more calories in a day is to become more active throughout the day. Move as much as possible, and sit as little as possible. Walk as often as you can. Walk to your co-workers office to pass on a message rather than call them on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk your dog, play with your children, do chores around the house, dance to your favorite song, play a game on your wii fit (an active one that is), stand up and pace while talking on the phone instead of sitting, do some gardening. Anything that gets you up and moving will burn calories and the more you do throughout the day, the more calories you will burn.

A real simple plan is to get an inexpensive pedometer, a device that tracks your steps, and shoot for 10,000 steps a day. Why 10,000? It is a nice looking number and that many steps will result in a calorie cost of close to 400 calories. The health and potential weight loss contribution of that much activity is considerable. It is not an easy task to get 10,000 steps. You will find yourself purposely making an effort to move more. That is the point. To reach this goal, you will need to park farther away from places, take the stairs, go on little walks, jog in place, walk the dog, or whatever you can to hit that number. It can be done, but you will have to work for it.

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1. Always take the stairs, avoid elevators and escalators.

2. Park further away from your destination than usual. 

3. Try to be active while watching TV, even if it's just doing housework 

4. Stand and let someone else have your seat when riding the bus or subway. 

5. Take “walking breaks” instead of coffee breaks at work in order to get your body moving during the day. 

6. Play with your kids instead of just watching them. Even if it's just having a tea party on the floor, they'll love it and you'll be more active than you would otherwise be just sitting on the couch. 

7. Walk you dog instead of just letting him outside to roam. 

8. Walk in place, do some leg lifts, stretches or sit ups while watching.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.