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7 Ways to Burn Calories Every Day

Get expert tips on integrating more fitness into your daily routines to burn calories.


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Did you know that you are burning calories every day, just by doing everyday things? 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.

“You do not need to go to the gym or get a workout in to burn calories,” says Flynn. “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 burned, based on a person weighing 155 pounds and engaging in these activity for 20 minutes.

Washing Up 

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

Carrying and Storing Shopping 

The next time you head to the store, 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 that require you to stand on a stool. 

Cooking and Preparing Food 

You might be tempted to do more cooking, which involves chopping up vegetables 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. 

Redecorating the House 

Trying to upcycle that chest of drawers by giving it a new lick of paint? Or adding an accent wall to your lounge? Only 20 minutes engaged in these activities burns 81 calories. Imagine if you were painting the whole house.

“A good spring cleaning or general housework can help burning a lot of calories,” says Mayatts. “Vacuuming, ironing, and hanging clothes all get your body moving and helps you to stay active at home. So do not see 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.


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. And if you are hoeing the soil, that is 123 calories burned. Even puttering 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,” says Mayatt. “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.” 

Walking to work  

“Since COVID, I think more people have tried to avoid public transport and walk a bit more,” says Mayatt. “Lockdown has allowed us to appreciate getting outside for our daily activity, so a lot of people go into the office by walking or cycling, rather than just jumping on a train or bus. Whether cycling inside or out, it’s still a workout no matter the location.” 


To take a break from computer work, sightseeing is a good option to get out and explore the city. Have you ever thought about how much you are burning and walking when simply doing something like sightseeing on a day out or walking around your town? Depending on where you live, you can walk 25,000 to 30,000 steps without realizing it, because you are taking in the sights of the city. You can burn up to 150 calories every 30 minutes of walking

It’s easy to incorporate fitness into our every day routines? “NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) refers to the energy expended for everything that is not related to sleeping, eating, or exercising,” says Flynn. For example, it’s 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.”

If you frequently 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 2,100 calories a month.

About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.