You don't have to schlep to the gym to boost your health, or give your metabolism a kick. Instead, incorporate these easy, fun strategies into your day. By Ava Feuer, REDBOOK.
1. Pop gum in your mouth
Even if you've told your kids to stop chomping on their gum, you'd be smart to keep chewing the stuff. Besides freshening breath, and sending a signal to yourself that you're finished eating, gum-chewing has a 150-pound woman blowing off 11 calories every 12 minutes.
2. Fix up your car
You could pay for a pricey mechanic, or you could take 30 minutes to open up your hood, and see for yourself why your sedan is making that weird chugging noise. A 150-pound woman who gets down and dirty for half an hour burns 102 calories, and saves a pretty penny.
3. Go biking
The sun's out, and spring's finally here with summer not far behind. Next weekend, go for family bike-ride around the neighborhood. Even pedaling at a moderate pace for a mere 15 minutes will help a 150-pound woman leave 102 calories in the wind.
4. Take a pre-breakfast walk
Once you rise, shine, and chug your morning coffee, head out for a walk around the neighborhood. "You're going to boost your metabolism, and start burning calories left over from the day before," says Bob Harper, author of Jumpstart to Skinny. A 20-minute, moderately paced walk can easily torch 100 calories.
5. Hit the billiards
You could see another movie on date night, but why not try something a little more active? Head to your local bar and challenge your husband to a game of pool. A 150-pound woman will shoot off 99 calories in 35 minutes - enough to earn you another drink.
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6. Take the stairs
In the same time you waste waiting for the elevator to come, you could be improving your physique. Climbing stairs burns seven-to-10 calories per minute, and climbing down burns about one-third of that, says Keri Glassman, author of The New You and Improved You Diet.
7. Visit the bowling alley
Today's bowling leagues bear little resemblance to the ones to which your dad disappeared when you were a kid. These now-retro date spots are the perfect place to indulge your competitive streak - and to toss 102 calories into the gutter in a half-hour.
8. Take out a canoe
The best way to up your swimsuit confidence may just be melting away fat while you wear it. Instead of lazing by the shore, paddle off in a canoe for an arm-toning workout. Even when done at moderate intensity, it burns 102 calories every 30-minutes for a 150-pound woman. Round two later, my friend?
9. Laugh out loud
Whether it be a girls night, watching the ridiculous new imitation you kid picked up, or a Modern Family marathon, giggling is good for your mind and body. According to a study conducted at Vanderbilt University, the average adult burns 1.3 calories per minute from chuckling.
10. Go fish
And we're not talking about the card game. For a whole different kind of weekend afternoon, stand by the riverbank and spend 25 minutes with your pole in the water. A 150-pound woman will burn 99 calories in that time - and perhaps come home with a tasty dinner.
11. Buy an activity monitor
Whether you choose a Fitbit or a Nike+ FuelBand, having some gauge of how much you're moving throughout the day will encourage you to go for a much-needed walk after a day of mostly sitting. "Even as a fitness professional, it's good for me to have that on to show me I need to get up and out," says Drop Two Sizes author Rachel Cosgrove.
12. Play a game of Frisbee
Sitting on the beach reading your magazine is just dandy, but once your eyes get tired, suggest your family give up their various digging, sleeping, and wave-splashing for a game of Frisbee. Chasing and tossing the disk around with send 102 calories flying away in 30 minutes.
13. Spruce up your garden
Add your beautiful grounds to another reason you're an amazing hostess. All that weeding, planting, and crawling around will help a 150-pound woman shed 113 calories in 25 minutes, helping you shrink while your garden grows.
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A calorie-busting move that doesn't actually involve moving at all? Sign us up! A short meditation, even if it's an just an eight-count breath in and out, helps reduce stress, and lowers cortisol. "When you decrease stress, your hormones are in a better place to burn calories," says Glassman.
15. Jump rope
All those childhood games of double dutch never felt like exercise, but little you was getting a serious cardio workout. Jumping rope for as little as 10 minutes helps a 150-pound woman shed 113 calories. Belting out your favorite rhymes is optional.
16. Go snorkeling
Are those pretty fishies you see? Dive in for a swim with them, and you'll be so taken aback by the sights that you won't notice that 20 minutes of paddling around has melted off 113 calories.
17. Head to the basement for some ping pong
Who needs the gym when you can work out in your basement - no elliptical session required. Instead, spend a rainy afternoon with the kids playing table tennis, knowing you'll kill 113 calories in 25 minutes - even if you let them win.
18. Chew your food
A medium-size apple is 60 calories, and you're better off chomping on it than you are drinking 60 calories worth of apple juice. "Foods in a whole state require the body to burn a little hotter, thanks to chewing and digestion," says Becky Hand, author of The Spark Solution. This process, called thermogenesis, also kicks in when you eat high-protein fare like meat, dairy, and legumes.
19. Whip up a delicious meal
Putting food on the table can feel like yet another job, but at least it's one that's beneficial to your health. Chopping, sautéing, and assembling for 45 minutes burns 102 calories. Bonus points if you walk to the local farmer's market to pick up the ingredients, and cook a hearty, fresh meal.
20. Sleep through the night
Add this to the list of reasons to hit the sack. When you get adequate rest, your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, go down, meaning you'll eat less without trying. Experts estimate that compared to getting seven-to-eight hours of sleep per night, the risk of developing obesity rises 23 percent with just six hours of sleep, 50 percent with only five hours, and 7 percent with just four hours of Zs each night.
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21. Stand up while you wait
It may be unrealistic to install a standing desk at your workstation, but staying upright is a must in our largely sedentary daily lives. Standing burns 33 percent more calories than sitting, says Glassman, so skip collapsing onto the folding chairs while waiting for your doctor, or lounging on the bleachers during your son's soccer game.
22. Spice things up
When you bite into a really hot pepper, you may notice sweat building on your nose, and feel as if your body is heating up. It is. "Those are all little signals that something is going on internally to speed up calorie burning," says Hand. Studies have found that using a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper naturally raises your metabolism, so for dinner tonight, consider southwestern chicken.
23. Be a fidgeter
Good news for those who just can't seem to sit still. Channeling nervous energy into leg shaking, arm tapping, and other light movements almost doubles the amount of calories expended. A 150-pound woman burns 34 calories quietly watching TV for 30 minutes as compared to 60 calories when lightly fidgeting.
24. Turn up the music
Vacuuming up dog hair for the umpteenth time this week isn't exactly enjoyable, but you might as well make count. Blast your favorite upbeat tunes next time you do household chores, and you may just break a sweat. "If the movement is twisting-oriented, you more than likely will move your body faster while doing the unpleasant activity," says Hand.
25. Pace while you talk
Whether you're arranging playdates, paying bills, or in the office, take calls on a mobile or cordless phone, and use talk-time as an opportunity to pace around. "Before you've gone to the gym or done any kind of real workout, you'll easily hit that 100-calorie mark," says Harper.
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