Want to know how to burn more calories? Yep, thought so. It doesn't matter whether you're already hitting it hard at the gym and eating right, or you just want to drop a few pounds without putting in too much time or effort—there are some simple life hacks that will see you drop hundreds of extra calories without as much as the thought of a squat (let alone the physical act of pulling on your trainers and actually doing them).
All you need to do is hack into your current daily routine, make a few science-backed tweaks here and there, and you should notice the difference (as long as you don't balance it out with a cronut) in no time. What's great is that some of these hacks are so enjoyable you'll be more than happy to make them happen, which means your body will soon be a calorie-burning machine.
Keep scrolling for seven low-effort hacks that burn hundreds of calories every day.
Making your dinner may seem like a chore, but if you spend 34 minutes up on your feet, chopping, stirring, and then cleaning up as you go, you'll burn over 100 calories. It's something we do most days, but I bet you never knew that cooking dinner had such calorie-burning power.
You're going to love this one. Did you know that a mere 38 minutes of shopping burns 100 calories? We have all whiled away many an hour in Zara, none the wiser that we were burning a solid number of calories while we perused the rails and tried on clothes. Sadly, we don't always burn more calories than pounds spent. Your other half (or bank manager) may want you to stop shopping, but there are good health reasons for why you should keep calm and carry on.
Besides shopping, here at Byrdie HQ, we love nothing more than taking a hot bath after work. And bath time has recently been discovered to have solid calorie-burning potential. A recent study by Loughborough-based researcher Dr. Steve Falkner with the University of Leicester found that taking a 40-degree bath for an hour increased energy expenditure by 80%, resulting in 126 calories being burned. The study was in relation to diabetes, and the team also found that the hot bath worked to reduce blood sugar levels by 10%.
The study was carried out with men, but women can still expect to burn a solid amount of calories in a hot bath.
Drinking green tea can turn your body into a more efficient calorie burner. The beverage contains antioxidants called catechins, which one study found raise resting metabolism by 4% (about 80 to 105 calories a day). You want to aim to drink three cups per day for optimal calorie burn.
For an average-size person, reading can burn just shy of 100 calories (around 85) per hour, according to Harvard Medical School. Which, considering it involves sitting down, is pretty good going. Just think: You're burning extra calories right now reading Byrdie, which is good reason to stay on here and read some more, no?
Sure, this isn't the best way to make friends at work, but people who fidget burn more calories. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that people who fidget tend to spend an impressive 150 minutes less sitting down compared with non-fidgeters. All that movement can mount up to an extra 350 calories burned every day. So next time you think about emailing a colleague, why not head over to their desk instead? Or how about trying a standing desk? [Ed. note: I swear by my standing desk for weight loss.]
If you hate being cold, this probably isn't the hack for you, but scientists have found a link between central heating and weight gain. When we're cold, our bodies have to work harder to warm us up, burning calories in the process. The secret is non-shivering thermogenesis, this occurs when our brown fat cells work hard to regulate our internal temperature.
Harvard Medical School professor Dr. C. Ronald Kahn has studied brown fat, and he told The New York Times that this type burns 100 to 200 extra calories a day in colder weather. The ideal temperature to kick-start this process? Set your thermostat to the low 60s, and wear lightweight clothing.
Drinking cold water can also help you burn calories from the inside out. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that drinking 500 millilitres of water increases the body's metabolic rate by 30% 10 minutes after drinking and for about 30 to 40 minutes afterwards. So if you drink two litres of cold water a day, you can expect to burn an extra 100 calories.
Next up: how to lose belly fat in nine simple steps.
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