Are you always on the lookout to burn more calories? Sure you are, everyone pretty much is. You know that you have to burn off excess calories through exercise and you can accelerate this by doing strength training and high-intensity interval training.
But besides that, what are some other ways that you can burn extra calories throughout the day? If it’s a day where you’re not able to be as active as you hoped you may be looking for a few extra things you can do.
This podcast is going to share some weird way to burn extra calories that you can easily do at any point in the day.
In This Episode On Weird Ways To Burn Extra Calories You’ll Learn:
- What the calorie myth is
- The importance of strength training and lean muscle
- Why muscle protein synthesis is your best friend
- A simple way to change your regular exercise to make it more calorie burning
- A change you can make to an everyday routine to boost metabolism
- What you can do after dinner to burn more calories
- What you can do if you’re stuck sitting all day
- The best way to actually drink water
- An act of charity that burns calories?
In general, we all know the regular ways to burn off extra calories and how you can increase your energy expenditure and watch your diet. But you would be interested in some of these unusual ways to burn calories throughout the day, especially if it’s like a day where you haven’t been able to be as active and are just looking for that little boost. In short, that’s what we’ll be looking at right now.
Obviously, to burn off more calories you need a higher energy expenditure and it’s not as easy to balance out the number of calories you initially take in and the number of calories you burn out.
It’s actually a really complicated process. The first thing to look at is the number of calories you intake. You might not know the accurate number of calories. even if you’re counting calories down to the individual calorie. For example, when you look at the packaging information on many food items, the FDA generally allows around 20 percent of extra calories to go in.
So, in general, whatever you’re reading could have 20 percent more calories or 20 percent fewer calories, and that kind of falls into the right guidelines. However, it is considered to be much higher than that, going up to 25 to even 30 percent more calories. You can find this out in the packaged information section.
This mistake usually happens because a lot of companies aren’t really testing the exact amount of calorie content in that specific item. They simply go through a database and use that most of the time to determine the number of calories present, so it’s really tough to know how much you’re actually getting.
The same scenario applies to food that does not come packaged, such as potatoes. For example, no two potatoes will be similar to each other as they will always vary in size, density, soil content, nutrient content, etc.
In this case, you can never really know how much calories you are initially burning off.
You can, however, use those calorie content calculators to determine the amount being burned off, but it doesn’t really indicate what is really happening inside your body, as calorie intake and burn off also depends on hormonal changes, stress levels, body temperature, sex, age, etc.
But the main thing here is that, if you do focus on real whole foods, your body just has this sort of built-in mechanism to balance calories off better. It’s when you start adding all the other stuff and the refined manufactured foods- that’s when the problems arise and that is actually when calorie intake needs to be looked at a little closer.
And then again, it’s tougher to actually determine what you’re actually eating. But if you do focus on the real whole food that our bodies have been designed to eat, there is just this sort of regulation system that makes it a lot easier that you don’t have to think about it that much.
Unusual Ways to Burn Calories
Exposure to Cold
So, the first one that helps you burn more calories is actually exposure to cold, and the exposure to the cold temperatures may also help boost your metabolic rate by stimulating what we call brown fat activity in the body.
Your body fat stores are mainly made up of white fat and they also include small amounts of brown fat. And they’re actually two different types of fats that have different types of functions as well.
What Does White Fat Do?
The main function of white fat is energy storage. So, having too much white fat tissue is obviously not going to be good for your body. It’ll promote inflammation, insulin resistance, everything negative of that sort.
What Does Brown Fat Do?
On the other hand, you have this brown fat and the main function of it is to maintain body heat during cold temperatures. And depending on your climate or where you live in the world, you’ll naturally have more levels of this. It’s one of those built-in mechanisms your body has used to survive and adapt to the conditions.
This brown fat calorie-burning effect has been shown to vary among different individuals. In general, people who are obese seem to have less active brown fat than normal-weight people.
The study on this is done on animal research, so even though it is quite hard to take in, it still gives us a good indicator of how brown fat works in mammals. The research further states that chronic exposure to the cold will lead to the “browning” of white fat.
So if you have more of this fat is actually working more in your favor as opposed to leading to inflammation and hormonal issues and stuff like that.
Alongside this research, there’s also a study that looked at younger men with similar body compositions, and they stayed in around 66 degrees Fahrenheit (around 19 degrees Celsius) environment for two hours.
Though their calorie-burning ability increased in all of them, the effect was tripled in those with the highest brown fat activity.
Then there’s another study where 10 lean, young men were exposed to a temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) for two hours. That led to an additional one hundred and sixty-four calories burned per day on average.
So, it basically just means, if you are exposed to cold, your body is going to be more metabolically active and you can do this a few ways.
You probably heard about cold showering. That’s one way to absolutely spike your metabolism, whether it’s a whole cold shower, which is tough; or you near the end of a normal shower, and you start to taper off into a cooler, cold shower and transition it that way. That’s going to help boost your metabolism. However, if you can do it, go for the full cold shower. You’d be amazed at what it can do for you.
Similar to lowering the temperature in your home, walking, or running early in the morning when the temperature is cooler will also provide you with that fast metabolic effect.
Drinking Cold Water
Next, another unusual way to burn calories is to drink cold water. You obviously need water to stay hydrated, and water is also involved with every function in your body, starting from digestion to transporting nutrients, blood and temperature regulation, etc.
In the end, it all comes down to that brown and white fat concept, where the built-in mechanism of your body takes care of itself and burns off extra calories.
Drinking water in general has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism in normal and overweight adults and children. However, Healthline.com has conducted studies that show that people who drank cold water were able to maximize this metabolic effect in their bodies.
A group of researchers reported that 40 percent of this increase in metabolic rate is the result of your body having to warm up the cold water to your normal body temperature.
This is because, naturally, your body stays at 98.6 degrees. In this case, if you drink something colder than your body temp, the built-in mechanism of your being will try to heat up the water temperature so that it matches your normal body temperature.
In order to do so, your body has to be more metabolically active and that’s how it also increases calorie expenditure.
There are also two studies done on young adults that found that drinking 17 ounces of cold water, which is around 500 milliliters of cold water- increased calorie expenditure by 24 to 30 percent for 90 minutes. That’s pretty huge!
Even though you can get better results with exercises, such as hormonal improvements alongside calorie expenditure, the fact that simply drinking cold water can also burn off extra calories to some extent is pretty incredible.
However, this was a study that was kind of small, but there’s always additional research that can go along with it. For example, another research done by Healthline.com shows that another pair of young adults drinking the same amount of cold water as the other pair, but only for 60 minutes this time increased calorie expenditure by 5 percent only.
The point here though is that you’re still boosting calorie expenditure in your body whenever you’re drinking cold water, which is why you should implement intaking cold water for as much as you can every day.
The next weird way to burn calories is by chewing gum. There is actually research done on this too. For starters, chewing gum has been shown to promote feelings of fullness in appetite, which in turn reduces calorie intake to some extent during the day.
And then there’s also some evidence that suggests that chewing gum can also help speed up your metabolism. To back this theory up, a small study was done on a group of men with normal weight.
They were made to consume meals for different periods of the day. The study showed that the group of men actually burned more calories following the meals they had chewed gum beforehand.
Another study shows 30 young adults who chewed gum for about 2 minutes after each meal had an increased metabolic rate compared to those who had not been chewing gum.
However, the problem with gum is that chewing it on an empty stomach could potentially cause issues as well since the act of chewing gum will prompt your body to anticipate eating. And the problem with gum is if you chew it on an empty stomach, it can cause problems because whenever you start the actual chewing mechanism in your body, your body is anticipating that you’re eating.
Your body in this case doesn’t know that it is actually just chewing a wad of pink gum and that it really doesn’t have any sort of nutritional value, so you’re not going to receive any calories anyway. But the act of chewing on the gum will deceive your body into thinking that you are indeed eating, because why else would you chew something in your mouth, right? (That’s what your brain thinks).
So now as a way to reach back to that act of chewing, your body will start releasing digestive enzymes, salivary amylase, and chemicals that breakdown food.
But without any food, there’s nothing those digestive juices can do for you, except trigger cramping, bloating, gastric unease at times as well as overall discomfort because of all those digestive enzymes being released.
This is why studies tell you to chew gum only after you have had a full meal, as that will prompt the digestive enzymes to attack the food itself, and not your stomach walls.
At the same time, hormonal releases will also do their thing, so you might actually get that benefit of burning extra calories and none of that bloating or cramping effect afterwards.
The next unusual way to burn calories is by donating blood and having your blood drawn out. This increases the number of calories you burn, at least temporarily that is.
When you donate blood, your body uses energy to synthesize new proteins, red blood cells, and other food, and certain other components to replace what has been lost.
Obviously, you can’t do this every day. You need to wait at least eight weeks between blood drives to replenish your blood supply. But it’s just interesting to know how your body springs into action after drawing blood out.
There’s also research suggesting that donating blood actually offers several health benefits, including lowering your inflammatory markers, increasing antioxidant activity, and reducing your risk of heart disease. You are also potentially saving lives when you do that.
When donating blood, your body has to synthesize new proteins the same way that your body builds muscle. It’s like when you eat, and if you’re working out- you will break down muscle tissue but also building it back. So, with donating blood, you’re doing the same thing just through proteins and amino acids.
Similar to that, the act of eating, such as when you’re munching down on a piece of chicken or steak, the actual energy it takes to break down that meat is putting your body into a thermogenic state, where it’s got to be more metabolically active. This is because of how the meat sweats, which is due to the energy that is required to break down the protein.
In a scenario where you’re eating any form of protein again, about 30 percent of the calories in that piece of food will be used to digest and process the meat itself. That is how metabolically active your body is.
And then again, it turns your body into a furnace because it’s so necessary to require energy and calorie expenditure. The actual act of your body turning amino acids and protein into new muscle tissue, what is usually called muscle protein synthesis- uses huge amounts of calories, approximately above 700 calories just for this conversion process. That’s how much energy it takes.
700 calories are more calories than people do in most workouts. That’s how metabolically active your body is and how important it is to build lean muscle and get adequate protein.
Another unusual way to burn calories is to fidget more. And you might be one of those people that naturally fidget and maybe you’re always tapping your feet or your hands or whatever. This actually has some health benefits to it.
As stated over and over again, exercising regularly burns calories that help you stay fit. But fidgeting can also be a form of physical activity, albeit a subtle form, but it can boost your metabolic rate. This is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
So, it works in ways, such as when you’re moving in a restless manner, like you’re bouncing your leg or you’re tapping your fingers on the table or maybe you’re playing with your rings or your watches, etc.
It was shown in one study, people who fidgeted while seated or standing were shown to have burned five to six times more calories on average than when they sat or stood still.
Another study found that people with the highest body weight experienced the greatest increase in metabolic rate in response to fidgeting and other types of non-exercise activity.
And this is interesting because, on days when you might not be able to go to the gym or maybe you have to spend a major portion of your time sitting, fidgeting can be a way to burn some extra calories that you might not have been able to do in your other activities.
And fidgeting actually makes a real and significant contribution to the number of calories you burn in each day!
Another group of researchers suggested that a combination of fidgeting, walking, and standing could burn up to 2000 additional calories daily, depending on the person’s weight and activity level.
For example, if you’re stuck at a desk all day, you can and should at least get up for 30 seconds every 20 or 30 minutes. Just that act of standing is going to help make your body more metabolically active.
When you sit for periods, especially longer than two hours straight, you start to kind of turn off hormones in your body that allow your body to burn body fat.
Likewise, you will have issues of not engaging muscle in your body, or you any kind of core activity. In this case, just standing can be so beneficial.
If you can get up and move around more, that’s better. But try not to be sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time, which isn’t always practical either. In any way, it’s an interesting how the fact that with all this research done, if you can combine fidgeting in order to keep your body active, walking, and then standing- you can burn a ton of calories throughout the day.
And that’s awesome for those days where you just can’t be as active as you are hoping for. Fidgeting in this instance may help burn calories and prevent weight gain. Some experts have actually been telling people to incorporate fidgeting and other forms of non-exercise activity into their daily lives.
Suppose if you have any issues that are preventing you from exercising or certain activities due to joint pain or other conditions, incorporating some leg bouncing and tapping in order to keep your body active will help you burn more calories and also prevent weight gain in the long run.
And then there are the obvious bigger versions of fidgeting- and that would be taking the stairs as opposed to an elevator or escalator. That is also a physical activity.
It kind of falls into that non-exercise form of thermogenesis. People who use standing desks can experience a huge boost to their metabolic rate as well, that might not be all that practical.
Another thing which some people don’t consider as exercise is cleaning. Whether that’s cleaning your office or your room or the living room or house or garage, it’s one of those things that we count as a chore, but it is an actual physical activity that burns a lot of calories, but one that we don’t sort of real factor in.
The last unusual way to burn calories is to laugh! They say laughter’s the best medicine, and there is actually research behind this.
It is actually confirmed that when you laugh, it improves a lot of things like mental and physical health and that it actually can boost your memory and also improve your immunity.
Other than that, laughing can also improve arterial function, such as engaging better blood flow. Additionally, to doing a lot of stuff, laughing also burns calories, which is kind of weird.
Studies have been done as well, with 45 couples watching movies that were either humorous or serious. The research showed that when they laughed during the funny movies, their metabolic rate actually increased by 10 to 20 percent, which is quite a lot.
It might not sound like a lot at first, but the fact that you can burn off a certain number of calories just from this act of laughing is pretty amazing, and that it can also boost your metabolic rate.
So, whether it’s watching any shows or movies regularly that you know will make you laugh, you’re not only going to improve your overall health and mental health here, but also burn some calories at the same time.
Let’s wrap it up here. Just to sum the entire thing up- your metabolic rate determines the number of calories you’re going to burn each day.
And there’s a lot of factors that affect your metabolic rate. It’s really hard to determine how many calories you’re burning a day. You can go to actual labs where they can help determine this. But when you take those online calculators, where you just plug in your height, weight activity level, etc., it’s not the clearest indicator.
There are so many factors during the day that forces your metabolic rate to change. For example, simply tweaking the temperature of the room you might be in can also affect your metabolic activity.
Likewise, there’s a lot of simple lifestyle changes you can do to increase your metabolic rate as well, and that’s going to help you burn more calories each day.
The biggest and most easy way to do that is just spending less time sitting and be up and active more if that is doable in your daily life. Exercising in this case obviously helps, but that would still be just for a while, so you would have to initially revert back to other stuff for the rest of the day.
In short, that’s what you want to be thinking about, to be up and mobile and moving around, being active in general. That is what’s going to really help increase your metabolic rate.
Working out each day or running and walking is also super significant and will help your overall health, but you still would want to continue doing things throughout the day.
Other than the simple things such as taking the stairs or parking further away from where you really need to be going and then walking to and fro, etc., will help boost your calorie expenditure.
You can also include other stuff such as fidgeting and drinking cold water more, taking cooler showers, chewing on gum after every meal, laughing more, etc. All these things will add up to increasing your metabolic activity.
So hopefully these are some things you can take away from reading this. Thanks for sticking around. Keep fit and don’t forget to stretch your hamstrings when working out!