7 Ways to Burn Calories Without Heading to the Gym


If you’re not comfortable going to the gym, there are countless other ways to get your weekly recommended amount of exercise. The major health benefits of exercise kick in at around 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, or about 75 minutes a week of high intensity exercise.

If that sounds intimidating still, here are seven simple ways to burn calories:


Have you ever heard that laughter is the best medicine? While that may not be entirely true, laughing for just 15 minutes could burn up to 40 calories. And, laughter releases serotonin, which can reduce your appetite.


Dancing can have great weight loss potential. Depending on how vigorously you’re moving, you could burn between 450 and 600 calories an hour. Even swaying at a more low-key musical event or concert could burn 200 calories in an hour.

Sports with Family & Friends

We can’t all be great athletes. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time playing sports! Toss a Frisbee around at the park, play some badminton in the back yard, or kick a soccer ball around. The points don’t matter and you can make up your own rules.


We’re not advocating for consuming beyond your means, but an hour of shopping could burn 150-200 calories. Take a few minutes to do an extra lap around the grocery store next time before you hit the check-out. (And remember to fill your cart with lots of fruits and veggies.)


Cooking is a great way to burn calories and get closer to the food you eat. We can always pay better attention to what we put in our bodies. Chopping veggies, moving around the kitchen, or frantically running over to the stovetop to as the water is boiling over onto the floor could burn 100 calories in just 30 minutes.


Just a half hour of sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, or scrubbing dishes could burn about 120 calories. Better yet, you get a clean house when you’re finished.

Yard Work & Gardening

Raking leaves, cutting the grass, pulling up weeds. Spring is right around the corner, and working in the yard is a great way to get some fresh air and a little exercise as well. If you’re feeling up to it, consider saving on gas and getting a push-mower, which is more physically demanding.

Exercise has been shown to lower blood and cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of several types of cancer, and can even help with anxiety, depression, and sleep issues.

Talk with your primary care provider to learn more about the benefits of exercise and to discuss your weight and nutrition. If you need to find a primary care provider, use our online Find a Doctor tool. Or, call UP Health System – Marquette at 906.228.9440.


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