If you want to lose weight, there’s no getting around the need to burn calories.
The two biggest ways to cut calories are with diet and exercise.
But there are also a lot of lesser-known ways to burn calories. Some of these might even raise an eyebrow—but they work! This is true for supplements such as Hydroxycut.
Here’s out list of the most out-of-the-box ways of burning calories.
Why not kills two birds with one stone? Burn calories and also help out people in need?
When you donate blood, you temporarily increase the amount of calories your body burns.
According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, donating a pint of blood burned an average of 650 calories.
By donating blood, you force your body to use energy for the synthesizing of replacement blood components, such as proteins and red blood cells. The expenditure of energy is what burns calories.
Naturally, you’re not going to donate on a daily basis. You must wait for a minimum of eight weeks between every blood donation. This gives your body time to replenish its blood supply.
Besides burning calories, there are additional benefits to donating blood. These include lowering inflammatory markers, and increasing antioxidant activities, stated research in The American Journal of Epidemiology and The Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology.
And, of course, you get to help people who need the blood to stay alive.
Final Thoughts: Donating blood gives you a temporary calorie-burning boost and offers other notable health benefits.
Exposure to Cold Temperatures
When you’re exposed to the cold, you stimulate brown fat activity, which helps to increase your metabolic rate (see studies in Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity)
You see, your body fat mostly falls into the category of “white fat.” But a small amount is “brown fat.” These two kinds of fats affect your body in different ways (see research in Journal of Molecular Endocrinology and Cell Metabolism).
White fat has negative effects. It leads to inflammation, insulin resistance, and fat buildup. Brown fat, on the other hand, helps you burn calories. This makes it great for losing weight (see studies from Annual Review of Nutrition, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, Frontiers in Immunology, and European Respiratory Journal).
The calorie-burning potential of brown fat varies from person to person. Lean people tend to have more active brown fat than overweight people, suggests a PLoS One study.
Recent studies in Diabetes & Metabolism Journal on animals suggest that chronic exposure to the cold provokes a “browning” of white fat.
Studies on people find that cold exposure has a significant impact on calorie burning. The increase depends on how much active brown fat you have in your body (see The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Thermal Biology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, The New England Journal of Medicine, Physiology & Behavior, and Journal of Applied Physiology).
Don’t worry—you don’t have to go down to the Arctic to enjoy the calorie-burning benefits.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation was conducted of healthy young men who were made to stay in a 66ºF environment for the space of two hours. All of them saw increased calorie burning, although the ones who saw the most change were the ones with the highest rate of brown fat activity.
Another study from the Journal of Thermal Biology looked at ten young men who were placed in a 62ºF environment for two hours. On average, they burned more than 164 calories per day than they did under normal circumstances.
So what can you do to get more cold exposure in your life? Try taking cold showers, taking walks on cold days, and lowering the temperature in your home.
Final Thoughts: Being exposed to cold temperatures helps stimulate brown activity, which is good for burning calories.
Burn Calories by Chewing Gum
According to Appetite, chewing on gum aids with calorie-burning in more than one way.
When you feel full, you snack less, which means you consume fewer calories.
Also, there’s evidence in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that chewing gum help increase energy expenditure. Specifically, chewing gum can increase energy expenditure four times over, according to Endotext.
Researchers looked into the number of calories burned by a regular-weight man after eating. They burned more calories when they chewed gum at the conclusion of their meal.
An additional study found that men and women who chewed gum for 20 minutes after eating had a higher metabolic rate than when they didn’t chew gum. The effects of the gum chewing continued into the next morning.
To get all the beneficial effects out of chewing gum, be sure to use the sugar-free variety.
Final Thoughts: Chewing gum between and after meals helps raise your metabolic rate.
Can Cold Water Help Burn Calories?
If you want to quench your thirst, there’s no better choice of beverage than water.
In studies of overweight adults and children, drinking water has been found to boost metabolism temporarily. When you drink cold water, the beneficial effects go up.
A group of researchers discovered that 40% of the metabolic rate increase is due to your body’s effort to warm up in response to the cold water.
A study of young adults observed that drinking 17 ounces of cold water increased calorie-burning by up to 30% for a 90-minute period (see The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism).
Final Thoughts: Drinking cold water helps to temporarily boost your metabolic rate, although the rate of increase varies from person to person.
How Many Calories Can Laughter Burn?
Maybe laughter is the best medicine?
Besides being good for your immunity, memory, and arterial functions, laughter helps you burn calories (see Advances in Mind-Body Medicine).
A study in the International Journal of Obesity of 45 couples watching movies together found that the participants’ metabolic rate went up by 10-20% when they laughed during comedies.
Laughing regularly throughout the day can have a long-term impact on your weight loss efforts.
Final Thoughts: Laughing not only makes you feel good psychologically; it also improves your body’s calorie-burning.
Fidgeting and Calories Burned
All forms of physical activity help you burn calories; including the subtle physical movement known as fidgeting.
When you fidget, you move your body restlessly.
A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who fidgeted burned five times more calories than they were standing or sitting still.
The people who most benefit from the metabolic rate increase of fidgeting are those with the highest body weights, according to International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders.
Fidgeting, combined with other forms of non-exercise activity [NEAT] like standing and walking, has been found to burn as many as 2,000 calories a day.
Thus, it’s extremely critical to incorporate different forms of NEAT into your daily routine.
In addition to fidgeting, you can try doing household chores and using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Final Thoughts: Fidgeting increases the number of calories you burn. It’s especially useful for overweight individuals.
What Users Are Saying
“Walking is my main one. Walking to the train station instead of driving. Going for a 15 minute walk during my lunch break. Going for a walk in the evening with my husband. At home, I have a treadmill where I will walk while watching tv instead of sitting. On the weight lifting front, it’s not too much fuss to bust out 10 squats, a one minute plank, or a few pushups from time to time.”
“For passive calorie burn I have recently started sitting on a yoga ball and using my standing desk more. It does make a small difference as opposed to sitting on my rear end all day at my desk.”
“I also do squats everytime I use the bathroom! I drink a ton of water at work but use a small water bottle so I have to get up often.”
There are lots of little-known ways to burn calories. Pick and combine the ones best suited to your circumstances. You’ll receive an extra boost to move you closer to your weight goals.
However, if you are looking for a more structured way to lose weight, it may be best to choose a program that can meet your individual needs.
One of the best programs for weight-loss we have seen this year is one called Noom. This unique program uses tactics and tools backed by multiple clinical studies to help individuals make lasting change to their lifestyle to cause weight loss.
Noom is currently offering a free trial offer to all readers who want to give the program a try before fully committing.
6 Out-of-the-Box Solutions for Calorie Burning Questions & Answers
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is often recommended as the best exercise for burning calories in a short amount of time. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of HIIT can burn up to 300 calories, depending on the type and intensity of exercises performed. Examples of HIIT exercises include jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, and sprints.
Summer Banks has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with professionals in the weight loss industry and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University.