Ways to Increase Physical Activity & Calorie Burn and Prevent Weight Gain in Your Daily Life

Girl Having Fun by Petr KratochvilAs a follow-up to my post on how you can save money and get more exercise with a mini home gym, I thought I would offer some tips and tricks that Madoline and I have discovered over the years to burn a few extra calories and prevent weight gain during the course of our daily lives.

What does exercise and weight loss have to do with saving money?

Well, frugal living means living prudently, and preventing weight gain can save your health, and therefore potentially save you a lot of money, in the long run. Obesity is the leading cause of disease in this day and age, and disease costs money, even if you have health insurance. So while cliché, the saying that “prevention is the cheapest cure” really is true.

Tips for Burning Extra Calories in Your Day

These are suggestions of things you can do in the course of your day to help keep off excess weight. Some of these suggestions may not work for everyone – but there should be at least a few that can help you.

  • Wear exercise shoes where and when you can
    I find wearing exercise shoes with proper foot support and air-cushioning encourages me to be more active in my daily activities (both at home and out). I tend to walk faster and with more energy. Needless to say, the more active you are in your movements, the more calories you will burn. If you don’t wear your outside shoes in your house, I would recommend having a pair of indoor exercise shoes for wearing at home.
  • Stand instead of sit
    Whether you’re watching TV or playing games, standing instead of sitting can help you burn a few extra calories. While the number of calories might not be huge, standing after a meal can help aid in digestion.
  • Park in the first space you find
    Not only does this save gas, but you can get a little exercise walking to and from your car.
  • Fidget
    Our parents taught us when we were kids that it was rude to fidget, but the truth is that fidgeting can help you burn a lot more calories and separate fat from fit. But fidget with discernment; obviously there are times and places where fidgeting is not appropriate, but when watching TV or sitting in your office (where no one can see you and as long as it doesn’t affect your work), move around a little – wiggle your feet, shake your leg or bounce your knee once in a while.
  • Drink tea
    Research has found that drinking tea before a workout helps increase calorie burn during the workout. Drinking tea during the day increase your metabolism by 4%. Also, green tea is full of antioxidants and has been found to help prevent a myriad of diseases such as stroke, heart disease and cancer.
  • Exercise in shorter intervals
    Research has found that separating workout sessions into shorter intervals (like 20 minutes) helps to burn more calories than a long session. This is when a home gym can help you do this.
  • Exercise while watching TV
    Pedal on an exercise bike, mini cycle or pedal exerciser (a much smaller device that you can easily move around the house), lift some hand weights or stretch while watching TV.
  • Put down the remote control
    Get up to change the channel or volume on your TV set.
  • Do yard work or garden
    Get rid of the yardman, save some money and get more exercise. Raking, mowing, digging, etc. can be very good exercise.
  • Make exercise fun
    If you’re one of those who just can’t stand exercising purely for the sake of exercise, consider taking up a fun hobby or sport that you can enjoy doing while getting your necessary physical activity. Here are a few examples. Some may cost a little money, but if it’s not too much and in the interest of your health, it may be worth it. A few fun ways to get exercise are:

    • Ice skating
      Ice skating is a great low-impact, aerobic sport. Go skate a public session, and if you really enjoy it, consider signing up for lessons. Ice skating lessons may not be as expensive as you might think. Beginner lessons are often offered in groups and include skate rental.
    • Tennis
      Many community parks have tennis courts that are free to the public. You can pick up an inexpensive tennis racquettennis racquet (around $20) and a can of tennis ballstennis balls and go and bat it around a court. Even if you don’t play well, you will get a lot of exercise simply chasing the ball down (based on personal experience).
    • Basketball
      Pick up an inexpensive basketballbasketball (around $10) and go to the park and practice shooting. If you haven’t played for a while, it won’t be long before you start feeling the workout. If you can get a friend to go with you, you can play horseHorse to make it more fun, or one-on-one to get some cardio.
    • Martial Arts/Self-Defense
      Consider taking up a martial art such as karate, tae kwon do, tang soo do, etc. These classes usually include aerobic and strength building exercises, and you can learn a little self-defense, which can always be a good thing to know.
  • Get a dog
    Of course, this is a major commitment and not for everyone. But if you have room in your life and live in a nice area with good places to walk and dog-friendly parks, having a dog to walk or play with regularly would help you get out of the house for some fresh air and exercise.

These are just a few examples of the ways you can get a little extra physical activity or calorie burn into your day. Be creative and have fun.

Diet and Habits

How and what you eat is up to you and depends on your preferred regime. However, keep these few simple things in mind that can make a huge difference in aiding in weight loss or preventing weight gain.

  • Watch the sugary drinks
    Either skip the sugar altogether and use a no-calorie sweetener like Splenda (our preferred sweetener) or at least mix a little of both. If drinking juice, dilute it with water.
  • Graze or eat smaller meals throughout the day
    Eating smaller portions spread throughout the day keeps the metabolism up, is easier on your stomach, and recommended for prevention of acid reflux and low blood sugar.
  • Get enough sleep
    One of the many side effects of lack of sleep is weight gain.

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