You know that exercise needs to be a part of your daily routine in order to maintain top health. But did you know that the vast majority of calories burned each day are not burned during exercise, but through your body’s natural processes? Breathing, sleeping, and just generally keeping your body going all require calories.
In order to burn fat, of course, you need to expend more calories than you take in. That’s where exercise comes in, and it’s actually easier than you may think to burn 100 calories. You must be working at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate in order for an activity to count as cardio, but it doesn’t really matter what it is you’re doing.
The following list of easy ways to burn 100 calories can help you keep track of the progress you’re making, even if you struggle to set aside the time for pure exercise. And when you do make that time for yourself, be sure to add the calorie burn from dedicated exercise to what you’ve accomplished by multi-tasking. The time designations noted here are approximate and based on a 150-pound person.
You may not think of these things as exercise, but simply as going about your day. Each of these items can power through quite a few calories, though, so don’t forget to add them to your daily total. We’ve noted how many minutes of these chores will burn 100 calories.
- Carrying an infant: 24 minutes
If you have a baby at home, you probably do way more than 24 minutes of this!
- Doing dishes: 40 minutes
They say only two things in life are guaranteed, death and taxes. But we think dishes should be added to this list.
- Cleaning: 26 minutes
It’s a hard knock life, but it sure burns some calories.
- Cooking: 34 minutes
Isn’t it nice to know that you have pre-burned some of the calories from your meals, just by preparing them?
- Playing with kids: 23 minutes
Sometimes it can be hard to put aside our adult worries and just be silly with the kiddos. But doing so pays immense dividends for the whole family, physically and emotionally.
- Pushing a stroller: 35 minutes
Having a youngster in a stroller offers a great boost to activity you’re already doing, plus provides lots of space to stash snacks.
- Shopping: 38 minutes
I’m not wasting money, I’m working out!
- Rearranging furniture: 14 minutes
Tell your partner you’re not being difficult, you’re staying fit.
Yard work is an excellent way to burn calories and end up with the satisfaction of a job well done. Here’s how long it takes to burn 100 calories at various yard and home maintenance tasks.
- Mowing the lawn: 20 minutes
Sorry, riding mowers aren’t going to cut it (the calories, we mean, they do the grass just fine).
- Weeding the garden: 18 minutes
Weeds really care about your health; that’s why the darn things keep coming back.
- Raking leaves: 23 minutes
Mother Nature’s annual period of shedding may actually help you shed pounds.
- Shoveling snow: 15 minutes
It’s a hassle, especially if it makes you late for work, but you might find yourself ripped after a particularly snowy season.
- Painting the house: 18 minutes
Clearly this task takes way more than 18 minutes, so you are perfectly justified in skipping the gym after a day of painting.
- Washing the car: 20 minutes
Sure, you’ll get wet and filthy and the kids always end up fighting over who got to use the hose more, but you’ll burn some good calories!
Any of these workouts will help you meet your weight loss goals. If you are able to put aside some dedicated time for exercise, use this list to determine how to get the best calorie burn for the time you have. And whatever you do, DO NOT feel guilty for putting yourself first for once.
- Cardio dance class: 15 minutes
A great workout if you’ve got the knack for choreography, and even if you don’t, as long as you don’t embarrass easily.
- Elliptical: 8 minutes
When time is short, skip the treadmill and hit the elliptical. It’s safer on joints and burns calories faster.
- Rowing machine: 13 minutes
The rowing machine is another great way to burn calories quickly because it engages your whole body.
- Weight lifting: 15 minutes
It’s really important to practice good form with weights, but if you can keep up a steady pace, you’ll burn calories as well as sculpt your muscles.
- Pilates: 24 minutes
Pilates is sit-ups on steroids (not really). But it does burn a surprising number of calories for a core workout.
- Running: 9 minutes a 6 mph
Serious runners are a breed apart. We’ll stop short of calling them obsessed, but just barely. Still, regular people who can stand to run for just 9 minutes will power through 100 calories.
- Swimming: 15 minutes
Swimming is an excellent all-around workout for many reasons, including that you can burn 100 calories in less time than it takes to find your bathing suit, goggles, and towel.
- Yoga: 20 minutes
You may think of yoga as a relaxing exercise, not a cardio endeavor. Actually, it’s both, which makes it fantastic for busy people with frantic lives.
Let’s face it, sometimes the minutes for a dedicated workout just aren’t available. Here are some things you can sneak into other daily activities that will burn some extra calories. We know you can do this – you’re a multi-tasking master.
- Running stairs: 6 minutes
Surely you can give 6 minutes to running the stairs in your home while the kids are watching cartoons or otherwise ignoring you for more interesting pursuits.
- Walking stairs: 11 minutes
If running on the stairs is too hard on your knees, walking them works, too.
- Biking: 23 minutes
You need to run errands anyway, so why not take your bike instead of the car? Biking is also a great way to spend quality time with the kids.
- Walking: 20 minutes at 3 mph
Picking up the kids from school, grabbing a loaf of bread, getting the dog to settle down, or even just centering yourself through time in nature are all great excuses to go for a walk.
- Jumping rope: 9 minutes at a moderate intensity
Some coordination is required, but your family is sure to love watching you try this.
See? You are probably already doing more calorie-burning each day than you realized. And while we hope this list encourages you to build more physical activity into your lifestyle, it’s also important to stop and give yourself credit for what you’ve already accomplished. The unrelenting pressure to do better and look better actually has a discouraging, rather than encouraging, effect on motivation. Some of that pressure comes from society in general, but we guarantee you’ll feel a lot better if you stopping putting it on yourself.