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Fitness Articles  ›  Family & Lifestyle

Everyday Ways to Boost Your Calorie Burn

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

-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
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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. 
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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.

Member Comments

  • 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! - 1/26/2014 12:36:43 PM
  • I am doing this kind of things whenever is possible and makes sense. I love the name: think fit not fast! - 1/26/2014 11:30:03 AM
  • Last time I hung my laundry out to dry, it came back in with bird droppings and spiders and I ended up washing it over again. Add to that, half of the year it would come back in frozen. - 5/9/2013 8:01:59 PM
  • I think car washing is a great idea. I love my car and will enjoy doing a great job on her. I have a lot to learn though. Yesterday I tried to get rid of the surface dirt by dusting her off and wiping her down with sprinkles of water and a towel but I ended up with a glaze of dirt all over. Today I will do better. The first step is to go to the hardware store to get the faucet handle because the condo where I live takes all the faucet handles off. Lol. so that's good. I'll get exercise points walking to the hardware store and more exercise washing my car. Great idea. Thanks. - 12/8/2012 2:05:42 PM
  • QUORNDAWG
    Washing your car by hand may be more fit for you, but going to a car wash where they recycle the water is more fit for the environment - 11/29/2012 10:27:39 PM
  • We live on 1.3 acres of land, and until this year I used a tractor to do most of the mowing. Now I used a self propelled push mower to do it all. If I do everything in one day, it is over 30,000 steps! I usually break it up into smaller sessions over a few days though. - 8/28/2012 8:48:13 AM
  • Unlike some posters, I actually liked the article. It put a perspective on every day things. I hate to wash dishes, but reminding myself that I am burning calories will fuel me to do it more often. The article was a bit one sided, but the concept of the article to open our eyes and see that the things we manually do every day helps burn calories, is good. - 6/13/2012 5:17:23 PM
  • You can always tell when an article has been written by someone who lives in the city. The whole walk or bike thing just isn't practical for most people. It isn't a matter of laziness it is a matter of sheer d-i-s-t-a-n-c-e.

    If you live in a rural area things tend to be spread-out not by a few blocks or so but by many many miles.Country roads are often too busy to be safe to bike or walk on and the tasks you are trying to achieve require a truck bed or a trunk to accomplish.

    In a Disney world maybe we would all live in places where you could bike and walk but in the real world outside of the cities it just is not a practical option for most people. - 5/20/2012 7:32:53 AM
  • I think the biggest thing is becoming aware that you can improve on whatever you are doing... making it more "fit" than "fast". I wear a pedometer from when I get up until I go to bed... I am always trying to work in more steps.
    We can always benefit from taking a fresh look at how we do our daily tasks, and how we are SPARKin' along!
    Great article! Thanks for sharing it!
    - 1/21/2012 8:16:42 AM
  • One of my favorites: park my car in the lot as far away from the building as possible. Unless it's a Walmart sized lot, then I tend to limit the distance to about 50-60 yards. - 9/10/2011 5:32:26 PM
  • Washing a car by hand might be a good work out, but you would still have to go to the carwash to get the underside.

    Time is more of an issue with me than finding some way to burn a few extra calories. - 7/25/2011 11:04:25 AM
  • There are a lot of good suggestion's here not all of them will work well for everyone. I do my own dish's as I don't own a dishwasher or have a big kitchen.

    I cut my own grass since I don't have a big yard. I do grow a garden every year. I love fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce's..

    I do try and walk a lot of places. - 6/10/2011 9:24:42 AM
  • Washing dishes by hand is Not better for the environment! Surprisingly, dishwashers use less water and if you buy "green" detergent, you can have even less impact. I only wash my pots n pans by hand these days.
    http://m.guardi
    an.co.uk/envi
    ronment/green
    -living-blog/
    2010/aug/19/c
    arbon-footpri
    nts-dishwashe
    r-washing-up?
    cat=environment&type=article

    - 5/2/2011 7:38:07 PM
  • To be honest I just skimmed a lot of the article but I noticed that you think I should go back to a very poor method of washing my car versus using a car wash ( and yes I know of what I am talking about I used to clean cars for a the major chysler dealer when I was in high school) . Sorry I have WAY TOO much invested in my car and my truck and they use SALT on the roads in my part of CANADA I am NOT going have the bodies on my vehicles ROT OUT prematurely. - 12/30/2010 9:02:06 PM
  • Clearly all options aren't for everyone, but the article provides food for thought. One topic I missed is growing and preserving fruit and veggies. When I lived in the boonies, far away from the nearest grocery store, it was great to be able to just go outside and pick supper (or get it from the pantry). And nothing beats the taste of a tomato fresh off the vine. - 12/3/2010 8:06:20 AM
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