4 Ways to Burn Calories While You're Cooking This Holiday Season

Updated 11/25/16
Product Disclosure
Camille Styles

You burn plenty of calories simply by cooking. The average person burns around three calories for every minute spent working in the kitchen. Twenty minutes of peeling, cutting, and mashing vegetables burns 54 calories. Thirty minutes of mixing and whisking (by hand) burns 81 calories. Forty minutes of chopping, dicing, and sautéing burns 103 calories. Fifty minutes of measuring ingredients, prepping, and mixing torches 119 calories. And you can boost those numbers by picking up the pace (turn on some music to get your body moving), chewing gum (it burns a few calories and, more importantly, keeps you from mindlessly grazing while you cook), and adding a few of these in-kitchen exercises to your next meal preparation.

Countertop Push-Ups

Between tasks, take advantage of your counter and drop down into a modified (standing) push-up. With your feet together, body in a straight line, place your hands on the edge of the counter and crank out as many of your best push-ups as you can before moving onto the next item on your to-do list. You can even make it more challenging by lifting one arm or leg—just make sure you switch sides at some point.

Stirring Calf Raises

Don’t just stand there while you stir—do calf raises while you stir. Rise up onto the balls of your feet and lower back down, keeping your heels hovering slightly off the ground. Do as many as you can with your feet parallel, turned out, and turned in to hit your leg muscles from all angles. If you’re looking to amp the calorie-burning potential even more, get your non-working involved, too. Add some arm circles and arm raises, or just swing it around—the more parts of your body you move at once, the more calories you burn.

While-You-Wait Cardio

While you’re waiting for the water to boil or butter to soften, get in a few quick sets of jumping jacks or high knees. Anything works as long as you’re moving. You can even just pace and fidget. Every little bit counts, and studies show fidgeters burn up to 350 more calories a day than their non-fidgeting friends.

Dishwasher Squats

This applies to loading and unloading the dishwasher, putting away groceries, and really any time you reach down to pick up something: squat. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees, rather than the waist, to lower down into a squat position then push through your heels to stand up. You’ll start to feel this one right away. Want to feel it even more? Strap on a pair of Adjustable Ankle or Wrist Weights ($18).

Do you have any tricks for burning extra calories around the house? Share them below!

Related Stories