Mayo Clinic Minute: Burn calories without burning out on exercise
How to Burn Calories
You probably already know that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. While it may seem difficult to burn calories, there are lots of little ways that you can help your body do the job. You can burn more calories by moving more throughout the day, eating smaller meals, incorporating spices into your meals, drinking more water, and getting plenty of rest every night.
Moving More to Burn Calories
Incorporate at least 30 minutes of cardio into your daily routine.The best way to burn more calories is to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. Cardiovascular exercises like walking, running, swimming, and biking help you to burn calories even after you have finished. You should aim for at least 30 minutes per day, but keep in mind that the longer you work out, the longer your body will keep burning calories after you have finished.
Add strength training to burn more calories while your body is at rest.Muscle burns 2.5 times more calories than fat, so the more muscle that you have on your body, the more calories you will burn when your body is at rest. If you don’t already have a strength training regimen, add strength training into your daily routine.
- Focus your strength training on large muscle groups for maximum burn, such as the thighs, arms, abdomen, back and chest.
Look for little ways to burn more calories.The more you move throughout the day, the more calories you will burn. Add small bursts of exercise throughout your day to increase your overall calorie burn. Park further away from the entrance at the mall, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do some lunges or crunches during commercial breaks when watching TV.
Fidget.Studies show that lean people fidget for about 150 minutes a day more than obese people do. That kind of low-grade activity (tapping feet and fingers, twirling hair, gesturing while speaking, etc.) can burn 350 calories a day, which translates into 10 – 30 pounds a year! It's called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and it includes any movement that isn't intended as exercise. You can burn an extra 100 – 150 calories an hour by increasing NEAT.Here are some ideas:
- Standing burns 50% more calories than sitting. Stand while talking on the phone, using the computer, or reading the paper.
- Pacing is even better. By pacing, you can burn 90 more calories an hour than if you were sitting still. Make it a habit to pace whenever you use the phone.
- Buy a workstation or desk that you can stand at or, if you can, set up a desk over a treadmill. By walking 1 mile (1.6 km) an hour while you work, you'll burn an additional 100 calories per hour which, if you do this for two to three hours a day, you could lose 44 – 60 pounds in a year. It's recommended that you start slowly, though, walking 15 minutes every hour and then increasing gradually. Alternatively, you can use a mini-stepper under a tall desk, or while watching TV to achieve the same results.
Method 1 Quiz
Why should you stand at your desk while working?
Changing Your Eating Habits to Burn Calories
Eat foods that help your body burn calories.People who eat fibrous fruit, vegetables, complex carbs, and low-fat meat burn even more calories after they eat. Make sure that your diet features plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Eat a balanced diet and do not exceed your recommended daily caloric intake. Some good choices include:
- Citrus fruits
- Brown rice
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat milk
- Nuts and seeds (in moderation)
Space your calories out throughout the day.Rather than consuming the traditional three meals a day, eat smaller meals throughout the day to help increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Aim for four to five evenly spaced small meals throughout the day. Try to eat every three hours to prevent excessive hunger and keep your metabolism revved up.
Eat breakfast every day.Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism, which helps you to burn more calories all day. Studies have found that people who eat breakfast also eat fewer calories throughout the day, while those who skip breakfast tend to eat more to make up for the calories they missed at breakfast. Choose high-fiber, low-calorie foods to reap the benefits of breakfast without going over on your calorie budget.
- Oatmeal, whole wheat bread, fruit, yogurt, and low-fat milk are great breakfast choices.
Add spice to your meals.Eating hot peppers can increase your metabolism by as much as 25% for up to three hours after eating. This calorie burning boost is caused by the capsaicin in peppers. Look for opportunities to add hot peppers to your recipes and reap the calorie burning benefits of capsaicin.
- Add a chopped jalapeno pepper to chili.
- Add a ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper to pasta sauce.
- Use hot sauce on pizza, sandwiches, veggies, and other foods.
- Keep in mind that many bottled "hot" sauces are high in sodium, which could prove problematic for those with hypertension (high blood pressure) or other health concerns. Use raw peppers whenever possible.
Method 2 Quiz
Why should you space your meals out throughout the day?
Incorporating Other Calorie Burning Habits
Reach for the caffeine, but pass on the sugar and cream.Caffeine increases the number of calories you burn by a small amount, but it may also make you feel like moving more. Drinking a caffeinated beverage with a meal like black tea, green tea, or coffee may increase your metabolic rate by as much as 10%.
- Green tea seems to have even more calorie burning properties and it may even block your absorption of carbohydrates.
- Keep in mind that drinking coffee or tea plain will take some getting used to, but purchasing high-quality beans or tea leaves will certainly help.
Drink eight glasses of water per day.Drinking water helps your body burn more calories. One study found that drinking eight cups of water per day helps your body burn about 100 extra calories per day. Consider getting yourself a reusable water bottle to help keep track of how much water you are drinking every day.
Sleep for seven to nine hours per night.Your body needs adequate rest each night in order to function properly and burn calories. In addition, being sleep deprived makes it harder for you to do other things that help your body burn calories, like eating well and exercising. Make sure that you sleep for seven to nine hours every night to keep your body burning calories and functioning at its best.
Method 3 Quiz
True or False: Drinking 8 cups of water per day helps your body burn about 500 extra calories per day.
QuestionI'm a teen and I don't have time to run in the mornings. How can I loose weight? What should I eat and how many calories per day should I to eat to lose weight if my BMR is 1800?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerAs a teen with a BMR of 1800, you should focus on making healthy eating choices and avoid junk foods, including soda. You may not need to lose weight, but to be sure, consult with a doctor to find out if more exercise would help you.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the suggested weight for an 18-year-old girl who is 5'4.5"?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerThe healthy weight range for an 18 year old girl your height is 115 to 132 pounds depending on how much muscle you have and your size of bones. Some websites will give slightly differing ranges (for instance healthchecksystems.com/heightweightchart.htm), so consider this as an estimate. For a better idea of whether your weight is good for you, calculate your BMI. This article can help: How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI).Thanks!
QuestionHow many steps does it take to burn 100 calories?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerThe exact number is different for everyone, but it is around 2000 steps on average.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best exercise to burn calories?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerThe best exercise is the one that you will do regularly. Any and all exercise burns calories.Thanks!
QuestionHow many calories do you burn cooking?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerIf you achieve a sustained elevated heart rate which is at least 60% of your heart rate maximum, you will burn calories doing it.Thanks!
QuestionWhich machine burns the most calories?
Personal TrainerPersonal TrainerExpert AnswerIt depends more on how hard you exert yourself than what machine you are on, but in general, running (treadmill) burns the most calories.Thanks!
QuestionIs it true as written here that drinking 8 cups of water burns calories?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt doesn't burn calories, but it keeps you hydrated and makes you less hungry, so you eat fewer calories.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I know how many pounds I must lose, and how to lose them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can look for a height-to-weight chart online and check what the healthy weight range for your height and gender is. Be aware of what you eat and how much of it; counting calories or intermittently fasting can help you with that. Regular exercise is important as well -- aerobics or jogging will help you get toned.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is a good diet plan to lose 15 lbs or so?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStart your day with a small breakfast like yogurt with oatmeal and sliced banana. Then run for at least half an hour. Do all this before 9 in the morning. Then, eat a small snack high in protein (egg, shake, lean meat, etc.) after your workout. Follow your regular meal plan the rest of the day but eliminate snacks. Make sure to drink plenty of water.Thanks!
QuestionI am a teen and I don't have time to exercise. What should I do if my BMR is 1400?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou burn calories throughout the day from just standing and walking a little bit. Someone with your BMR has a sedentary calorie expenditure of about 1650 cals. If you eat under this number you will lose weight, but make sure not to eat less than 1200 calories as there are health complications and you will probably end up binging.Thanks!
To burn calories, try to do cardio exercises, like running and biking, for 30 minutes every day. You can also burn more calories by walking places instead of driving and taking the stairs whenever possible. On top of exercising, eat foods that are high in fiber and complex carbs, which promote calorie burning. Foods like broccoli, carrots, pears, oatmeal, brown rice, and fish are all good choices. Also, try to eat 4-5 small meals every day as opposed to 3 big meals, which will help kick-start your metabolism.
- The first steps towards weight loss must include both diet and exercise. The simple tips listed above will not make you lose weight unless your diet changes.
- Keep track of the calories that you eat each day as well as the estimated amount of calories you burn by exercising.
- As with any weight-loss program, talk to your doctor before you get started. Get professional advice when deciding to change your fitness regimen or diet. These tips are meant as just that--tips, they are not meant to provide a comprehensive weight-loss plan.
Sources and Citations
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Video: Best Exercises For Burning Calories
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