Getting in daily physical activity is important for just about everyone at every age and stage of life. Not only will a little workout boost your energy level and mood, but being physically active can also increase your longevity. In addition, daily exercise can help you sleep better and prevent many health conditions, including some forms of cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and more. If all of the benefits of being active haven’t convinced you yet, know that physical activity can better your brain function and decrease your risk of dying. Another major reason to get in your daily fitness? It’s a great way to keep your weight in check and burn calories. But, we totally get it—sometimes you’re in a time crunch and it’s difficult to fit in workouts. Or perhaps you totally hate the thought of exercising but would like to shed a few pounds. Whatever your reason may be, we have some foolproof ways to lose weight without “exercising,” and you’re going to like—dare we say love—them!
We reached out to Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., fitness and nutrition coach and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board, who shares some simple ways you can lose weight without exercising. And guess what? There are many sneaky things you can do throughout your day to help speed up your weight loss journey. Read on to learn more, and next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
First off, if you’re looking to lose weight without exercising, Liu suggests playing a sport. Bring a fun activity back into your life like tennis or bowling, or try something totally new! Pickleball, for example, has been gaining so much popularity recently—and for good reason. The sport is a mashup of badminton, wiffle ball, and ping-pong, and it’s such a fun way to get social. Research shows this moderately intense form of exercise can decrease depression, boost cardiovascular fitness, and improve blood pressure. It’s also a solid calorie-burner—you can apparently torch between 8 to 11 calories each minute, depending on how intense the game gets (via Pickleball Guide).
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There are also a few sneaky ways to get in extra steps during the day without feeling as though you are actually “exercising.” For one thing, try taking the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible. If you’re rolling your eyes thinking why even bother, you’ll be surprised to learn that each time you opt for the staircase instead of the elevator, you burn calories and show your heart health some love. According to Livestrong, a person who weighs 160 pounds and walks up the stairs can burn 29 calories in just 3 minutes. If they choose the stairs four times a day, they’ll burn around 116 calories.
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Another super easy thing to do is plan long walks with friends. Walks don’t really feel like your typical exercise, because you can talk, enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage, and catch up on so many things. The time will pass quickly, and you’ll be so glad you made the plan. By the time you’re done? Well, according to New Health Advisor, if you weigh 150 pounds and do a walk and talk with friends for 30 minutes at 2.0 mph, you can burn around 90 calories. A 200-pound individual can torch 120 calories walking at 2.0 mph for 30 minutes, while a 250-pound person can burn 150 calories. Keep in mind that the faster you walk, the more calories you burn.
Don’t stop at just walking with friends, either. Liu also recommends that you “have a daily step goal to hit.” It’s easy to take the long route in your house and also park further away in a parking lot.
We’re not done yet! Doing chores around your house and simple cleaning is a perfect way to torch those calories away. Not only will your house sparkle, but you’ll be surprised to know that by vacuuming the house for a half-hour, you can burn around 124 calories if you weigh 150 pounds (and about 166 calories if you weigh 200 pounds), according to WebMD. And don’t stop there—pull out the mower, and cut the grass. A person who weighs 185 pounds can burn around 200 calories just by mowing the lawn for a half-hour. Get the picture?
These are just a few easy examples, but the opportunities to get active without hitting the gym are endless. Liu also points out simple things like hauling your groceries from your car back into the house in one shot. He explains to Eat This, Not That!, “There’s something called NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is the activity we get outside of our workouts.” He adds, “It can account for up to 15% [to 30%] of our total daily calorie expenditure, which is pretty significant. Even though you may be getting in workouts, if you’re not moving outside of them, you’re considered sedentary, so it’s important to get daily movement.”
It’s necessary to fill your weight loss journey with some key habits on the regular. Liu suggests modifying your carb intake based on your activity level. Keep in mind that if you’re going to have less movement, that means consuming fewer carbs. Liu warns that being sedentary is a major no-no. He says a great idea is to set a timer for every hour to get up and move around. Hey—it may be time to grab a vacuum or mower!