Burning calories without the gym

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If you hate going to the gym I have good news for you. There are plenty of daily activities that you can engage in regularly to significantly increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis. And even if some do not seem all that appealing there is sure to be a couple that may tickle your fancy.

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Passionate kissing

Forget the obligatory peck on the cheek when you walk in the door, to seriously burn some calories, up to 2 per minute in fact, you are going to need to get your best French kissing on. The more facial muscles involved in the kiss (think Charlotte in Sex in the City, ‘he ate my face’), the more calories you will burn. While you would need to kiss for quite a while to even get close to a workout, there are numerous other health benefits associated with kissing including reductions in both blood pressure and cholesterol. Your teeth will also be in better shape as kissing helps to produce more saliva which helps to neutralize acids in the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay.


Now while pounding the floors of your local shopping centre will burn roughly 40 calories for every 1000 steps you walk, the most benefit from shopping comes when you are trying plenty of clothes on, again moving your body, carrying and lifting. Even more will be burnt the more heavy shopping bags you  carry, or even better, loading and unloading groceries, which will burn as many as 130 calories per 30 minutes of shopping, or the equivalent of 10 minutes running on a treadmill.

Cooking dinner

For many of us, cooking the evening meal is a chore we would rather give to another member of the family but if you consider that plenty of chopping, bending, lifting and standing, a 30 minute session in the kitchen can add a 70-80 calorie burn, about double what you would have burnt if you had continued to sit in front of the TV and order takeaway. More importantly, a home cooked meal is likely to save you 200-300 extra calories that you would have consumed if you had ordered take away food which means home cooking is a win-win.

For some great quick & easy recipe ideas, see our free Shape Me recipes here.

Relaxing in a hot bath

This is a surprising one as you would think that relaxing in the bath after a long day would be anything but a mini workout but research has shown that taking a long hot bath can burn as many as 140 calories. From a physiological perspective, it appears that exposure to the hot temperatures helps to reduce blood glucose levels perhaps as a result of specific proteins being released after heat exposure. This links to other research that has found that individuals who take a sauna regularly live longer than individuals who do not. Whatever the reason, if taking a long bath replaces another 15 minutes on the treadmill, why would you not.

Drinking ice cold water

In the Winter months this may not seem all that appealing, research has shown that drinking a glass of ice cold water can burn up to 8 extra calories per day. Now while excessive water consumption can actually be dangerous, drinking your standard 6-8 glasses of iced water equates to an extra 40-60 calories burnt each day, or 5 minutes of running that you simply do not have to do.

Getting sexy

There are few husbands or partners who will not take great delight in sharing with their wives or girlfriends the many benefits of bedtime action but you cannot deny that a sexy romp is a serious calorie burner. It is estimated that 30 minutes of sexual activity involving a number of muscle groups will burn as many as 200 calories, or the equivalent of a 20 minute run. So if you prefer to take on a more passive role during intimate relations, this may be just the incentive you need to get up and at it, and be able to then skip your gym workout as a reward for doing so.