Surprising things that burn as many calories as exercise

Let’s hear it for effortless exercise!

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We’re all for doing exercise – well, mostly – but for those times when you really can’t be bothered, here are a few ways to burn calories without too much extra effort:

Taking a hot bath

Calories burned: 140 an hour

According to a study released by Loughborough University taking a bath isn’t just good for stress levels, it can also help you lose weight. The researchers – studying the effects of exercise type 2 diabetes – looked at the energy output of two groups, one group cycled for an hour, while the other lounged in a hot bath. The cycling group burnt more calories overall, but the bathers dropped a few too: 140 calories to be exact, or the caloric equivalent of taking a 30 minute walk. We’re not sure you’d get the same benefits adding a glass of wine to your relaxation routine, but we see it as one basically offsetting the other. Win.


Calories burned: 350 a day

If you’re a foot shaker, finger tapper or hair twister – don’t fight it, embrace it. Turns out being restless – annoying as it can be to those around you – can actually help with weight loss. Science shows that your average fidgeter can burn ten times more calories than those who just sit still. One study has even gone as far as to suggest fidgeting could burn a possible 350 calories per day, which over the course of a year would add up close to 18 kilograms. If we weren’t fidgeters before, we probably will be now.

Drinking green tea

Calories burned: 183 a day

If you’re ever stuck for a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up, you can’t go past a cup of green tea. But did you know that aside from being packed with a multitude of health benefits, there’s also the fact that drinking multiple cups a day could have an impact on your body fat percentage? One study on obese Thai men found those who drank green tea burned an average of 183 more calories a day than those who didn’t. But there’s a caveat: You’ll need to drink anywhere from three to eight cups a day to reap the full benefits.

Sweating it out in the sauna

Calories burned: 200-600 in 30 minutes

There are myriad benefits to having regular saunas. Aside from sweating out a build-up of toxins, there’s also the body temperature spike which, similar to taking hot baths, results in weight loss. While state-of-the-art spas offering the latest in infrared saunas claim it’s possible to burn as many calories as a six kilometre run, so the argument goes you’re probably sweating out water, making it hard to count the calorie burn as actual weight loss. One thing experts do agree on though: sweating can in fact aid in weight loss.


Calories burned: 100 an hour

Cleaning the house isn’t the most exciting thing on our list of things we’d rather be doing, but it’s possible to kill two birds with one stone here. You can ‘HIIT’ the housework – that’s attack it in short, high-intensity intervals – and rack up a serious calorie burn. Or just take it at your own pace. Either way you’ll get the benefits and you’ll be fitter for it in the long run. Unfortunately, it’s looking like you might still need to hit the gym: by our calorie calculations, that would be a lot of housework you’d need to do!

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