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Health and Fitness

Exercise Life Hacks: Easy Ways To Burn An Extra 500 Calories

Stephanie Ashley
by Stephanie Ashley Published on March 10, 2014

We all have to work hard to find enough hours in the day to work, eat healthy, and keep ourselves in tip top shape. Sometimes, it’s tough to keep ourselves on top, and exercise inevitably slips by the wayside. Don’t let your fitness suffer! We’ve got some quick, simple life hacks to help you burn an extra 500 calories every day.

You know the story, none of us have enough time. Instead of cooking, we order takeout. Instead of partying with our girlfriends, we try to nab those few extra hours of sleep. Instead of working out every day, we're stuck at the office doing overtime.

Want to burn extra calories, but just don’t know when you’ll find the time? We spoke to Daphnie Yang, a Certified Personal Trainer, Race Coach and Group Fitness Instructor, founder of Defined by Daphnie and creator of the HIIT IT! Workout, to see how you can fit in those extra few minutes each day for fitness.

“It is critical to work simple exercise and movement into your everyday life because our sedentary lifestyles contribute to major health problems,” Daphnie says. “Weight gain, stiff joints and tight muscles aside, researchers are now saying that 'sitting is the new smoking.' Sitting for hours at a time causes your body to shut down at a metabolic level.”

Argh! No one wants that!

Daphnie says sitting down for an extended period of time regularly can contribute to an increased risk of breast and colon cancers, diabetes and heart disease, and even depression. Ouch! That’s more than enough reason to get up and get active, and now, we know just how to do it with these quick calorie burning life hacks.

N.B. The exact calorie burn varies for each individual. “All calorie estimates are based on a 150 pound woman," Daphnie says. "You will burn more calories if you weight more and less calories if you weigh less.”

Wake up workout

Get your day started right by trying out Daphnie’s 4 Minute GOOD MORNING Workout!

“Set your alarm to wake you up 4 minutes earlier,” Daphnie says. “As soon as you wake up and after you use the bathroom, hit the floor for a four minute tabata interval. This is an easy interval where you perform an exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, then perform another exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10. Repeat so each exercise gets performed four times, totaling 4 minutes.”

Four minutes doesn’t sound too tough, right? Certainly not on your sleep schedule, but it will kick your metabolism into shape! “This tabata interval is designed to torch through calories and get your metabolism revved up,” Daphnie explains.

If you’re not sure which exercises to perform, take Daphnie’s routine: “I like to alternate two exercises. Perform 20 seconds of bodyweight squats, rest for 10 seconds; perform 20 seconds of alternating lunges, rest 10 seconds, repeat until each exercise gets performed 4 times. This will burn around 60 calories in only 4 minutes!”

Take the stairs

Instead of standing on the escalator or waiting for an elevator, walk up the stairs! It may sound boring, but according to Daphnie, “For every minute you walk up stairs, you’ll burn 10 calories.”

If it’s a work day, Daphnie says, “Don’t eat lunch at your desk! Go out to buy lunch, then take the stairs on your way back.”

Stop one subway/bus stop early

Do you take a subway or bus to work? If so, this tip is for you.

“In the morning, leave your apartment ten minutes early so you can get out of the subway one stop early,” Daphnie says. “This will add ten minutes of walking time to your commute. This will burn an additional 60 calories.”

Take a car to work instead? “Park the car a few blocks away so you can add a ten minute walk to the start of your day.” You can also count on that ten minute walk after work to help burn even more calories.

Don’t sit down too long

Desk jobs can be a major drag, not only if you’re trying to burn off calories but also if you have joints that lock up easily.

Daphnie’s advice is not to sit down for too long. “Set your iPhone alarm to go off every 90 minutes. Every 90 minutes, get up and spend 6 minutes moving around.”

If you’re in an appropriate work setting, you can try to get a real workout by performing jumping jacks or running in place. Not sure that would fly in your office? Walk to a different floor and get your body moving up and down stairs. “Plus,” Daphie adds, “the mental break will make you MORE productive at work.” Win-win.

Clean the house

Cleaning and chores around the house are necessary and usually no fun, but some activities can actually burn calories for you!

But don’t think that just leaning on a vacuum cleaner will get the job done. Try sweeping, mopping or scrubbing the bathroom. “30 minutes of vigorous house cleaning burns 100 calories,” Daphnie says. Not only can you work in some calorie-burning time, but your house will be spotless!

While you’re cooking

Don’t just wait for water to boil or for that food timer to go off. Make your cooking time even more productive by doing a few simple workouts.

“While you’re cooking and waiting for something to boil or heat up,” Daphnie says, “perform counter pushups. Every 20 pushups on your counter will burn 10 calories. Plus, exercising before eating makes you less likely to reach for unhealthy foods!”

Commercial break

Watching TV or skimming through your DVR? Don’t let those commercial breaks go to waste.

“Resist the urge to fast forward through commercial breaks!” Daphnie says. “Barefoot and in sweatpants, do 15 hip lifts on the right, 15 on the left, then 15 tricep dips on the ground, then 30 bicycle twists. Repeat for three commercial breaks. This will burn an additional 60 calories, plus tighten up your tummy, your hips and your arms.”

15 minutes at home

“Don’t have time to make to the gym?” Daphnie asks. Try out her own 15 Minute At Home Workout.

“If you have 15 minutes, perform this body weight workout at home in your bedroom or living room. Pick 5 of your favorite exercises. I like squats, jumping jacks, pushups, planks and bicycle twists. Perform each exercise for one minute. Then repeat for a total of 3 rounds. You’ll be drenched in sweat with this quick circuit of exercises. The best part? It takes 15 minutes and you can do it barefoot and in sweatpants.”

Another definite bonus of this workout? It burns a total 150 calories! Certainly worth that extra 15 minutes a night.

Though we all hate to admit it, exercising is not exactly about finding time, but making time. Incorporating these calorie burning life hacks will see you looking and feeling fitter in no time.

How do you find ways to burn those few extra calories? Got any tips? Tweet us @wewomenCA!

by Stephanie Ashley

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