5 Ways to Burn Calories without Exercising

Learn five ways to burn more calories without actually heading to the gym for a workout.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #47

Have you ever met a trim, fit person who seems to stay that way even though they don’t exercise any more than you do?

5 Ways to Burn Calories without Exercising

One of the secrets of efficiently staying lean is learning how to burn more calories without actually exercising. So in this article, you’ll learn 5 ways to burn calories without actually heading to the gym for a workout.

Calorie Burning Tip #1: Stand

Your fat burning enzymes and metabolism are more active when you’re standing, and you can burn up to a few hundred extra calories per day by avoiding the sitting position.

Though you don’t have to convert your desk into a treadmill workstation, you should certainly attempt to stand whenever you have the option, such as when you’re waiting in line to renew your driver’s license, waiting at the dentist’s or doctor’s office, waiting for your plane to board, talking on the phone, or surfing the Internet. As a bonus, if you happen to have low back pain, you may find that it nearly disappears when you begin standing more!

Calorie Burning Tip #2: Twitch

Studies have found that people who constantly move burn more calories. That seems obvious but many people don't realize that constantly moving includes activities like

  • tapping your feet,

  • drumming your fingers,

  • standing up,

  • sitting down,

  • moving your head in circles,

  • shrugging your shoulders,

  • clinching your butt, and

  • even rolling your eyes!

These movements may seem to incorporate only small and insignificant muscle contractions but every time a muscle fiber moves it uses energy and increases your body's temperature and metabolism.

It's true that larger muscle fibers burn more calories, but when you're attempting to elevate the metabolism, even the tiny boosts from smaller muscle fibers will help. If you're trying to lose or maintain weight or just keep your metabolism elevated, make sure that you're twitching and fidgeting as much as possible. Employing even these small movements while you're riding on the bus, watching television or even eating breakfast will make a big difference in your metabolism.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.