Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you could work off that slice of pizza or piece of cake without doing a single sit up? Well good news – you can. A recent study found that you can burn more than 40 calories an hour just by standing. Today Nikki offers some other simple ways to beat the bulge without setting foot inside a gym.
Believe it or not, simply choosing to stand, instead of sit raises your heart rate just enough to burn an extra 0.7 calories per minute – 42 an hour.
Now that may not seem like much. But standing for three hours a day adds up to 882 calories burned per week – the equivalent of a takeaway curry, three Mars bars or half a Victoria Sponge.
So can we have our cake and eat it too?
Everything in moderation
Of course, it is not always practical for you to stand three hours a day. So cramming your face full of junk food while promising to burn it off through the week may not be a good start.
Having said that, you could indulge in a weekend treat or two by working out how to burn a little more bulge through your working week. And don’t worry – if you can’t stand around in your office for hours, we have some other alternatives for you to try.
Our sedentary lives
Remember when you had to walk into the petrol station to pay? When delivery pizza wasn’t an option? When you had to get off the couch to change the channel?
These are just a few of the tasks that are becoming obsolete and have deprived us of simple everyday physical activity.
They sound like tiny things (and who would want to give up their remote control?) but if you add up all the extra calories you could burn just from doing a few of these, you could actually lose a significant amount of weight.
Now I know a lot of you take long walks, ride your bike, or exercise regularly. But I also suspect a vast amount spend most of their day stuck behind a computer, sitting in their cars or slouched in front of the TV.
They simply don’t realise how sedentary their lives have become.
But here’s the shocking truth: Studies show the average adult expends about 300 to 700 fewer calories per day than his or her parents did.
Make a change
It’s not too late to make changes to your lifestyle which could significantly improve your health.
Simple activities such as climbing stairs and parking your car in the farthest space from the supermarket offer benefits similar to those gained in a gym workout.
Here are some easy ways to bump up your activity level and burn calories:
- Do everything a bit longer and faster. Increasing the intensity of your everyday tasks, from hoovering to walking the dog can increase the amount of calories burnt. So put a bit more effort in!
- Always take the stairs. Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity.
- Stop getting your shopping delivered to the door. Yes, it’s convenient. But think about the pleasure of shopping for treats at the same time as burning off the calories you need to consume them! Grocery bags are also great weights – and carrying a heavy load helps tone up flabby arms and bingo wings
- Get an exercise ball. Replace your desk chair – or usual place on the sofa – with a giant exercise ball. You have to engage the core muscles to maintain stability and it’s a great way to exercise while working – or watching TV.
- Go the distance. Park in the furthest spot away from the supermarket. In fact, try to get in the habit of taking the longest route to the toilet (on a different floor, if that’s possible) too.
- Do chair-robics. Every hour stand up, and sit down slowly four times. It will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch – and you’ll be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day – a great way to strengthen your lower body.
- Sack your cleaner. Housework can burn a few hundred calories per hour so you really should be doing your own cleaning. Grab a mop and do a complete workout while you tidy.
- Become a party animal! Attending social events is a good way to exercise while having fun. Parties involving dancing are especially good. But even when you visit a friend’s home, up your calorie burn by being more sociable. Choose to stand or circle the room and talk to as many party goers as possible. Offer to help in the kitchen, take a tour of the garden or greet guests at the door to stay active.
Stay with it
Just remember, you can burn off the same number of calories (or more) as you would in a one-hour aerobics class without ever setting foot in a gym or snapping on spandex.
So try to do a few little things each day to increase your activity level – and see if you notice the difference!