Fitness experts at BarBend collaborated with Personal Trainers Anthony Mayatt and Eliza Flynn to reveal the best routine activities to stay active and burn calories. Plus, their tips on how to integrate fitness into our routines.  

Did you know that you are burning calories every day, just by doing routine, day-to-day actions?  

Personal Trainer Eliza Flynn explains: “You do not need to go to the gym or get a workout in to burn calories. Even things such as digesting food or standing burn calories. You are even burning calories while you sleep!  

“The exact number of calories a person burns is affected by many things such as intensity and weight, so you can only get a rough estimate. However, here are seven routine activities and the calories burnt, based on a person weighing 70kg and engaging in each activity for 20 minutes.” 

1. Washing up

A mere 20 minutes of doing the washing up standing, burns an estimated 44 calories! To increase this, be more vigorous with your washing up and do more of it. 

2. Carrying and storing shopping

The next time you head to the shops, know that if you are taking 20 minutes to walk back to your house and put the groceries away, you will be burning 61 calories. To increase this, carry heavier bags and put things away which require you to stand on a stool. 

3. Cooking and preparing food

You might be tempted to do more cooking which involves chopping up veg and herbs for 20 minutes, when you know you can burn 49 calories. If there is more hard work involved, such as filling several heavy pots with water, or whipping cream by hand, this increases the number of calories burnt to 86.

4. Redecorating the house

Trying to upcycle that chest of drawers by giving it a new lick of paint? Or to add an accent wall to your lounge? Only twenty minutes engaged in these activities burns 81 calories. Imagine if you were painting the whole house!  

PT Mayatts adds: “A good spring clean or general housework can help burning a lot of calories. Activities like hoovering, ironing, and hanging clothes get your body moving and helps staying active at home. So don’t think of it as a chore, see it as a way to get that extra burn. At the end, your body will thank you and so will your clean house.” 

5. Gardening

Green-fingered people burn a lot of calories taking care of their garden. For example, planting fruit and vegetable seeds or plants for 20 minutes burns 105 calories. 

If you’re hoeing the soil, that is 123 calories burnt. Even pottering about the garden or your house, watering the plants for 20 minutes burns 37 calories. The more you do in your garden, the more calories you burn! 

“Taking care of the garden is an intense activity and anyone that does it will agree. Mowing the lawn has you walking, and planting flowers has you bending, standing, and moving in all directions. If you have a garden and it looks a mess, then get out there and start working out,” says PT Mayatt.

6. Walking to work

Anthony Mayatt explains: “Since COVID, I think more people have tried to avoid public transport and walk a bit more. Lockdowns have allowed us to appreciate getting outside for daily activity, so a lot of people head into the office by walking or cycling, rather than just jumping on a train or bus. Whether cycling in a gym or on the street, it’s still a workout no matter the location.” 

7. Sightseeing

To take a break from computer work, sightseeing is also a good option to get out and explore the city. Have you ever thought about how many calories you’re burning when simply walking around sightseeing on a day out? In London, some days you could be walking 25-30,000 steps, without realizing it because you’re taking in the sights of the city. Walking can burn up to 150 calories every 30 minutes.

8. The lowdown on NEAT calories

PT Eliza Flynn explains: “NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) refers to the energy expended for everything which is not related to sleeping, eating, or exercising. So, for example, the energy you expend while brushing your teeth. 

By increasing your NEAT, you can burn more calories each day. And it all adds up quickly. For example, if you spend more time sitting on the floor, you move more and change positions. In addition, you burn more calories by getting up from the floor than from a sofa. If you are burning an extra 10 calories with this activity a day, that is an extra 70 calories a week, which is an extra 2100 calories a month!” 

Mayatt adds:  

Whenever I am asked how to increase NEAT calories, I always answer with two words: accountability and enjoyment. Going back to lockdown, exercise became so accessible due to Zoom sessions, home workout equipment, park runs etc., so there are so many things you can be doing that do not involve paying a gym membership. 

“This is why enjoyment is so vital to increase more NEAT into your daily routine. If you love what you’re doing, then you are more likely do it over again. Whether it involves meeting friends after work to play football or a group activity such as a bootcamp or a fitness class, the trick is finding something we enjoy doing. 

“The internet is home to millions of workouts of all types; use enjoyment as your focus and find the types of exercise that work for you. Joining online social groups and sharing your progress and receiving workout tips is a good way not feeling alone in your exercise journey away from the weights room and treadmill.” 

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