Burning calories does not have to involve a trip to the gym. Sure, fitting in a workout is nice if you can find the time. But sometimes you can’t—either because of a heavy workload, personal commitments, or just because you’re totally exhausted. And while there’s no pressure to force a daily workout, if burning more calories is something you’re interested in doing, there are a handful of ways to energize your day—no workout required.
In fact there are three simple things you can do anywhere, anytime. These expert-vetted tricks are designed to fit into your daily routine, with no equipment and absolutely no burpees (promise!). They’ll help you burn a few more calories than you normally would, and keep you feeling 100 percent all the time.
1. Move your body.
Movement is critical. This trick may seem obvious, but when you have a ton of work to grind out at your desk, it’s easy to forget to get up and get moving. “Being sedentary compresses your spines, stiffens your ligaments and joints, and tightens your muscles,” explains Beth Jordan, American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer. Plus, she says moving around, even just a little bit, will help you burn more calories throughout your day.
A great way to remember to get up and get going? “Set your smartphone to beep every hour or so to remind you to move around,” says Jordan. Use these moments to go to the bathroom, take a meeting, or step out to grab some lunch.
Staying hydrated is important for a lot of reasons, and one of those reasons is that it helps keep your metabolism working properly. A healthy metabolism is essential if you’re trying to lose weight and burn calories, says Jordan. She suggests keeping a water bottle at your desk to fill up on throughout the day. And getting up to refill your bottle will get you moving, too.
According to Lauren Minchen, M.P.H., R.D.N., C.D.N., owner of Lauren Minchen Nutrition, rehydrating in the morning may also keep you from eating too much throughout the day. “Morning dehydration can often masquerade as hunger,” she explains. She recommends drinking one liter of water before eating in the morning.
3. Use your arms.
According to Jordan, it’s not just your steps that you should be trying to increase—it’s your arm movements, too. “If you watch people while they’re walking, they’re arms are usually just hanging at their torso, not moving at all,” she says. (Or they’re holding a phone and texting.) This is a missed opportunity, Jordan says. Simply moving your arms a bit more while walking will help you burn a few more calories because you’re engaging more muscles. She says you can either opt for increasing your arms natural sway, which is inconspicuous and unobtrusive, or get a little crazy with it and, “lift your arms up over your head or out laterally to your sides.” Do what ever makes you feel comfortable.