These surprising moves torch calories-and some don't even require you to budge from your beach towel!
The trick: Gulp a Slushie right before exercising on a sweltering day.
How it works: Hot weather means your body has to work harder to move, wearing you out more quickly. But according to new research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, participants who drank a Slushie ran for about 10 minutes longer before feeling the crippling effects of heat (burning face, melting body, heavy feet). At 30 degrees, Slushies are colder than regular ice water, and the mix of sugary water and crushed ice lowers your body temperature before you start running, so you can last longer before getting overheated. Very cool. Related: 8 Foods That Keep You Slim All Summer
The trick: Make a mental list of all the small things you do daily that could count as exercise-like going up stairs, carrying bags of groceries, and walking your dog.
How it works: How's this for mind power? In a Harvard study, hotel employees were divided into two groups; one was told that cleaning rooms is good exercise, and the other was not given this info. After four weeks, although none of the staffers had changed their routine, the informed group showed decreases in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index...simply because they now thought they were getting exercise. Related: Steal These Fitness Tricks from Celeb Trainers
The trick: Jog or walk backward.
How it works: Research from Harvard found that you exert more energy when moving in reverse than you do going forward-which means you're burning extra calories. Head to a track or park far from oncoming traffic, and begin slowly, gradually building speed. It's trickier on a treadmill, so be prepared to hop off or reach behind to slam the emergency stop button. Related: Follow Marisa Miller's Easy Fitness Plan to Tighten Your Butt and Thighs
The trick: Down one to two servings of caffeine (whether it's coffee, tea, soda, or an energy drink) about 90 minutes before your workout.
How it works: Here's something to buzz about: Caffeine blocks the chemicals in your brain that cause you to feel pooped, which allows you to exercise longer before becoming exhausted, according to a study published in The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Now we could get a buzz off of that. Related: Foods That Melt Away Flab
The trick: Hold the door for a stranger, make a donation to charity, or grab a latte for a coworker during your afternoon coffee run.
How it works: A recent Harvard study found that doing nice things strengthens your willpower and increases physical endurance. That means you're more likely to resist ordering that cupcake, encourage yourself to hit the gym, and work out harder once there. Related: 7 Habits That Are Giving You Belly Pudge
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