Your body is constantly burning calories to keep things running, even if you’re simply lying in bed asleep. It stands to reason that when you exert any energy at all, you’ll burn more calories. Everything from walking through your house to sitting at a desk and typing will burn calories, so if you’re trying to figure out how much energy you expend in a day it can be helpful to know how much work your body is doing during these tasks.
Everyday Health spoke with exercise psychologist Pete McCall from the American Council on Exercise, who explained that simply being physically active, even if you’re not working out, can help you burn more calories. Tasks such as cleaning the house and grocery shopping are known as “non-exercise activity thermogenesis,” or NEAT, he explained to the source.
Here are a few examples of all the NEAT ways you can burn calories without heading to the gym. These figures are for a person who weighs around 150 pounds and performs each task for 30 minutes. The number will vary if you weigh more or less.
Blow drying hair: Holding your hair dryer up in the air for burns around 100 calories.
Cleaning the house: Tidying up around the house, whether you’re dusting, scrubbing or vacuuming, will burn roughly 100 calories.
Coaching sports: Volunteering to coach your child’s soccer team might be a good idea, as Harvard Health indicated that this can burn as many as 150 calories.
Cooking: Not only is preparing meals at home a good way to eat healthy and save money, but it can also help you work up an appetite. Harvard stated meal prep burns about 93 calories.
Gardening: Spending some time planting bulbs, weeding your garden or pruning your bushes can burn anywhere from 150 to 170 calories, depending how hard you work.
Mowing the lawn: Knock a chore off your list while getting a mini workout, as Everyday Health indicated you can burn about 200 calories. You can get more of a workout if you use a manual mower, too.
Painting a room: If you want to brighten up your home, try painting a room. Picking up a roller or a paintbrush and getting to work is worth 167 calories, Harvard reported.
Playing with kids: Running around with your youngsters in the house, in the backyard or at a playground can burn 185 calories, according to Harvard. If you don’t have kids of your own, offer to babysit for your friends’ children.
Shoveling snow: Harvard indicated you can burn about 220 calories shoveling snow, so put away the blower this winter and opt for a shovel.
Standing in line: Have to go to the DMV? Don’t fret. Harvard also pointed out that simply standing in line can burn 47 calories.
Typing on a computer: If you work a desk job, you’re burning as much as 50 calories you spend using your computer. For an eight-hour day, that’s 800 calories burned right there.
Washing dishes: Scrubbing plates and pots and pans will burn 50 calories, according to Health magazine.
Bear in mind that these activities are not a viable substitute for regular exercise. This information can be used, however, to give you a better idea of how much energy you’re expending every day versus how much you’re taking in. It can help you to tweak your diet and exercise regimen to ensure you’re striking the right balance whether you want to lose, maintain or gain weight.