Fitness Articles

Everyday Ways to Boost Your Calorie Burn

Think ''Fit'', Not ''Fast''

You stare at your to-do list with dread: Unload the dishwasher, return the library books, do the laundry, pick up dinner, drop the kids off at the mall, go to the gym…and that’s just the beginning. The list seems endless and unfortunately, your time is not. 

The good news is that one simple change has the ability to shorten your list, save you money, improve your health, bring your family closer together, and conserve resources—all at the same time! 

Instead of using modern technology to do things the fast way, try doing things the fit way. By shunning modern conveniences in favor of the old-fashioned methods, you’ll find endless calorie-burning potential!  While the fast way may seem more efficient, think of the fit way as a way to combine your goals.  In essence, you'll be getting more things done at once, so you'll check off that to-do list with ease.  If you’re so used to the fast way that you’ve forgotten that there IS another way, start with these alternatives: 

Fast Way: Drive through the car wash. 
Fit Way: Wash your car with a sponge and a bucket of suds. 
In just 30 minutes, you can make your car sparkle and burn about 140 calories too. If you want to get your kids involved, bring out some extra sponges and let them scrub and rinse with you. There’s no guarantee anyone will stay dry, but the chances are good that you’ll have fun. If you don’t have a place to wash your car (not everyone has a driveway), there are lots of do-it-yourself coin carwashes that will do the trick. 

Fast Way: Drive to the supermarket, cleaners, or video store.
Fit Way: Walk, jog, or ride your bike to your destination. 
If you only have a few things to pick up or drop off, take a backpack and use non-polluting “people power” to get there. You’ll burn calories, get a workout while running errands, and reduce fuel expenses and wear and tear on your car. 

Fast Way: Pick up dinner at the local carry-out. 
Fit Way: Cook dinner yourself. 
In just 15-45 minutes you can whip up an amazing dinner with lots of healthy veggies and whole grains, and you can burn at least 126 calories while you’re at it. If you have kids, get them involved. They’re great at measuring, mixing, and setting the table—plus learning how to cook wholesome foods will set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. 

Fast Way: Load the dishwasher and push start. 
Fit Way: Wash your dishes by hand. 
Before you run away screaming, listen to this: Just 30 minutes of dishwashing burns 70 calories! Get your family involved for a great opportunity for conversation; if you’re solo, turn on some music and make it fun. With you powering the scrubbers, you’ll save money on your electric bill and extend the lifetime of your dishwasher too. 

Fast Way: Drop the kids off at the mall so you can go to the gym. 
Fit Way: Go for a hike together. 
This substitution packs more than fat-burning power. You’ll bond with your kids, get closer to nature, and fill your lungs with fresh, clean oxygen to boot. Plus you’ll burn almost 400 calories an hour. At that rate, you can just cross the gym off of your list for the day.

Fast Way: Use a leaf blower (or hire a lawn service to rake those leaves). 
Fit Way: Jump into your self-raked leaf pile. 
When raking leaves torches 126 calories per half hour, why would you pay someone to work out for you? 

Fast Way: Dry your clothes in the dryer. 
Fit Way: Hang your laundry out to dry. 
Next time you’re at the supermarket, take a walk down the laundry aisle. You’ll see a plethora of “outdoor” scents like mountain fresh, summer breeze, and spring rain, all to make your laundry smell as if it actually was dried in the fresh air. If you go for the genuine scent by actually hanging your clothes out to dry, you’ll burn calories, save on energy consumption, and save money by skipping the dryer sheets. 

These are just some ideas to get you started.  “Thinking fit” will burn more calories, save you money, and may even improve your relationships. Chances are, you might even have fun with these fit alternatives, or at the very least, gain an appreciation for how easy you really have it. Think fit, not fast!

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Member Comments

  • EXCELLENT article! Thanks so much for posting this, because I never know how to "guess-timate" how many calories I am burning in regular activity like you mentioned. Sure wish someone would post a graph we could print out on what the average calorie burn is on things mentioned above & others too.
    hint hint, wink nudge! Thanks for all the great tips!
    I love these ideas! I already do most of them because I am frugal, lol. I also use a hand (push reel type) lawnmower. It is fabulous exercise and doesn't take any longer than using a motorized mower, plus I never need to get gas or have it serviced professionally So it saves time and money too! Win-Win!
  • Exactly!!! Great blog.
  • Couldn't put my clothes out on a clothesline because I am allergic to the trees around here.
  • I've been hanging my laundry out for years, because I love the way they feel, it's energy efficient, and it keeps me busy. Had no idea this was a fit way to do things, but that's just another reason to keep it up! (plus, hey, there's no outlet for a dryer in my house! lol)
  • I don't use a leaf blower. I use a broom and rake. I pull weeds. I don't spray them with chemicals. I brush cobwebs off my house. I don't waste water by spraying them with a hose. I do everything I saw my grandmother doing, because I now know the importance of doing things her way.
    I already do all these things (except for washing my car, because I don't own one). Some other article on this site stated that the calories burned by household chores are overrated. Which should I believe?
  • Love all these fab "old-fashioned" tips. I remember helping my grandma hang clothes in the backyard on a clothesline. Do they even sell clothespins anymore? LOL
  • Often these things (and others like them) are not only "fitter" but faster as well, when you figure in the time used to GET to where you are having the "service" done.
    The other day I had to take a bus from my suburb to the city. I also hasd to get my exercise in. In the end I walked to the city, and it took me no longer than waiting for the bus+bus ride time.
  • The car wash does a better job of getting the dirt off the car, and as long as you stick to touchless, you don't end up with fine scratches on the clearcoat. Hand washing = scratches. Scratches = BAD. Assuming, of course, that you give a rat's hat about that sort of thing.
    I drive through the touchless, but then I take'er home and wax'er by hand. I like her to GLEAM.
    when your poor all these "old fashioned fit ways' are just a part of life.
  • Three cheers for doing things the "old-fashioned" way! It's the way we live our live here in the country. I don't own a dishwasher, I wash our car with hose and buckets, I walk to our mailbox (6/10's mile total to and from), I hang out my clothes whenever the weather allows (there is nothing better in life than going to bed on fresh-washed, line dryed sheets!!!), I push-mow our yard (I do cheat in using self-propelled) - it takes hours and hours to do, but such a good feeling, I use a hoe in the garden, I rake grass and leaves, etc. etc. etc. I should be about as fit as they come. It was fun for me to read an article here on SP that I finally felt like "Finally, I measure up to something!!!" (and can even brag a little!)
  • Great article! I would add for the "hanging the clothes out to dry" that your arms get a great workout from carrying a basket full of wet clothes. Surprised there wasn't a guesstimate for calorie burn added in there for that one, lol
  • So many great ideas in this article! At first I thought it would be about washing the laundry by hand and was even hesitant to read the article! LOL. I actually do many of these things already as we do not have a dryer or a dish washer, and I really enjoy walking to the site instead of driving. Some of these tips are even double the benefits, for example if you cook dinner you will likely eat less calories and more nutritious food. I stated to cook even my snacks and do not regret it, it shows me to ensure that 90% of what I eat is packed with nutritious ingredients. Last tip I would like to add to this list in the article is, in order to add yet a third productivity variable to each of these tasks, si then while listening to podcasts! I discovered podcasts and now I make sure that I am not allowed to listened to them sitting, si it actually makes me want to do the dishes so that I can continue my favorite podcast, or go for a longer walk to finish this episode... I chose podcast that not only I have an interest in but also from which I can learn! Continuous learning in one of the greatest joy in my life and one thing I was only getting from books and articles... I.e. Sitting, nor I learn while being active and even crossing stuff off my list and the best of all, I look forward to it!
  • I am doing this kind of things whenever is possible and makes sense. I love the name: think fit not fast!

About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

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