5 Tiny Calorie-Burning Activities to Squeeze Into Your Day

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Can’t find the time to fit a whole workout into your schedule? You’re not alone. Sometimes it feels like if you don’t do tiny calorie-burning activities throughout the day, you won’t get any exercise at all.

Between work and school many of us have sedentary lifestyles. We spend most of the day in front of a computer. And when we get home exhausted, the last thing we want to do is head to the gym, so we sit in front of the television. Or we plop down with our home computer to pay bills, catch up with social media, and read the news.

Overall, it’s a lot of sitting time.

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Nevertheless, it might be in our best benefit to try to fit in some activity. An American Cancer Society study released in 2015 found that prolonged sitting is particularly harmful to women. Women who spend 6 or more hours of free time sitting have an elevated risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and multiple myeloma (among others).

A second article published in Time Magazine linked sitting to a 66% higher risk of cancer. Yikes!

Even if we’re more productive at work while sitting still, it might be in our best interest to find little ways to move. We’ve listed five tiny exercises you can do anywhere. Some of them can be done sitting, just to get your body stretching and working, while others have to be done standing (it’s good for you!).

Whatever exercise you choose to do, it’s better than sitting still. So we hope these tiny calorie-burning activities help you stay healthy and energized! And don’t forget to take frequent breaks, dividing sitting time with walks around the office.

1. Cherry-pickers

This move is perfect to help cinch the upper arms, and you can do it standing or sitting. Lift your arms up at your sides, palms up, and tap your index finger and thumb repeatedly (you’ll begin to feel the burn in your arms after a few seconds!).

Start with about 50 “pinches,” and challenge yourself to do more each time. Don’t let your arms droop or sag and you’ll really feel that bicep burning.

This Strengthening Elbow Workout to Prevent Injuries and Promote Healing is another weightless routine that will help stretch and strengthen your muscles. Simple, low-impact workouts like this one are a great way to improve your pain-free range of motion.

2. Foot circles

Another good sitting exercise, this move is for thigh fat. Keeping your leg completely straight, point your foot and lift it off the ground, moving it in circles. Alternate directions to engage different muscles in your legs.

Do about 25 circles, then switch directions.

If you have time to take a little standing break, we suggest trying a few of the moves in this Strengthening Ankle Workout. It’s a great way to lubricate joints and stretch leg muscles.

3. Calf-raises

Perfect for when you’re waiting in line or just need a standing break, this move is ideal for creating calf definition. If you want that sleek, strong, dancer leg look, fit in this exercise throughout your day. Simply stand on your tip-toes, lower back down, and repeat.

Kick up the intensity: when you lower back down, don’t let your heel touch the floor. Keep it hovering just above. Do 50 of these calf-raises in a row and you’ll really feel the burn.

Check out another 5 Exercises to Do While Standing in Line.

4. Laps on the Stairs

Drive up your calorie burn! Use your hourly breaks to go up and down a set of stairs. No matter how fit you are, stairs have a particular talent for raising your heart rate, which means you’ll be fitting in some needed cardio action.

If you feel silly just going up and down the stairs, then you don’t have to do laps. Go to the bathroom on a different floor. Or take any excuse to visit a different department instead of emailing them.

You can check out some more ideas for reaching your step goal with these 10 Ways to Squeeze More Steps into Your Day.

5. Drinking Ice Water

Surprise! Not even a workout, this last “move” is definitely the easiest. Water is good for us. It keeps our organs hydrated, flushes our toxins, and prevents cravings.

Additionally, drinking a glass of ice water also helps you burn calories. Our bodies use energy to get the water up to temperature, which means you expend a few extra calories drinking ice water over room temperature water. Some websites estimate a glass of ice water burns about 8 calories (compared to 1 from room temp).

You get extra points if you have to walk to the break room to get your ice water. Keep a water bottle in your office and fill it up as often as possible. You’ll stay hydrated and add steps to your day. You might want to check out these 8 Cute Bottles from Amazon. (Affiliate link)

Whatever exercise you choose to do, what matters is that you work on increasing your activity during the day and decreasing your sitting time. It might seem like a small difference at first, but over time your body will thank you.

You’ll burn more calories, improve mobility, and even reduce your risk of cancer. So don’t forget to take those standing breaks! Walk around, take the stairs, or just do some stretching. It makes a big impact on your health!

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