While most of us think that burning calories only happens at the gym, the truth is that your body is burning calories round the clock -- even when you're relaxing, sleeping and eating! Your metabolism is running at a specific rate throughout the day, and certain activities only increase this rate for short intervals. When you're trying to lose weight to burn off extra calories stored in your fat cells, you need to add more activities to your diet to give your metabolism a boost.
A great place to kick-start your weight loss plan is with some simple exercises and activities that burn 100 calories each; just add a few of these to your day so you can finish the day with the equivalent of an intensive workout! From walking during your lunch hour to getting up early for a quick bike ride, here are a few quick ways to burn 100 calories and get going on your weight-loss regimen:
Jumping rope, 15 minutes. Pick up that jump rope and get yourself going for at least 15 minutes to burn off 100 calories in no time. Jumping rope will increase your heart rate, strengthen your leg muscles and help you work up a sweat when you need a quick exercise fix.
Take the stairs, 15 minutes. Walking up flights of stairs for at least 15 minutes can help you burn off 100 calories and give your lower body a great workout. Just maintain good form and breathe deeply to make sure your muscles get plenty of oxygen during the strenuous exercise.
Gardening, 30 minutes. Head outdoors and enjoy nature with some gardening activities. Bending, lifting, digging, raking and other constant movement will easily burn off 100 calories in less than an hour, and you'll have the added benefit of reducing stress.
Housework, 20-30 minutes. Get going on a few chores for at least 20 minutes, and you'll quickly burn off some extra calories for the day. Clean a few rooms vigorously and pay attention to the details for your mini-workout. How's the carpet looking? Vacuum for 25 minutes, and not only will you have clean floors, but you'll also burn 100 calories!
Dance! Turn up the volume and dance around the house for 20-30 minutes to get your metabolism into high gear and zap away a quick 100 calories.
Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Turn on your favorite music or the television and walk at a steady pace for half an hour; this moderate activity will increase circulation, elevate your metabolism and burn away 100 calories in no time. Take a 15-minute, brisk walk outside to get some fresh air and burn another 100 calories.
Enjoy a yoga routine for 20 minutes. Pop in your favorite yoga DVD and complete a stretching session for at least 20 minutes. Your body could use the extra stretching and deep breathing exercises, and you'll easily burn off 100 calories in the process. The benefits of yoga are far-reaching for all ages -- it reduces stress, increases flexibility and strengthens bones, which is important as we age.
Lift light weights for 35 minutes. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and move around the house doing simple exercises such as bicep curls, triceps curls and the overhead press. Keep it up for at least 35 minutes to burn away 100 calories. If you don't have dumbbells, use soup cans. You can fashion your own home workout with a little creativity!
Wash some windows for 20 minutes. Clean up the house or apartment with a window-washing session where you're bending, stooping, climbing and stretching to get the job done. You'll burn off 100 calories and enjoy a brighter view!
Swimming, 15 minutes. Get wet and enjoy a few laps. We're not talking Olympic-style relays. Just a few leisurely strokes up and down the pool will get you to that 100-calorie goal.
When you cobble together a few of these activities -- which may be on your daily agenda anyway! -- you'll find that you've put together an effective workout in no time, without setting foot in the gym!