These fast workouts add movement to your life, and are key to reversing your body’s inclination to cling on to fat.
It’s time to rethink your definition of “exercise.” While cardio, strength, and interval workouts are important to lose weight and maintain weight loss, a growing body of research also points to the benefits of NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). NEAT accounts for the calories we burn daily while doing actions such as bending, sitting, walking, fidgeting, hugging our children or spouse, or cooking dinner. The more bursts of activity you can add to the day, the healthier you’ll be. This is a key part of The Digest Diet, our groundbreaking new weight-loss plan that distills the latest science on fat releasing foods, exercises, and habits into an easy 21-day plan to slim down quickly and safely.
However, many of us aren’t getting enough of these spontaneous activities, and that can mean a missed opportunity to burn about 348 calories each day—and as many as 700 calories for the more fidgety among us.
So what can you do if you’re not a natural-born mover? Add more of the following mini workouts to your day, doing three to five of each move for one minute each. You’ll naturally boost your calorie burn without a big commitment to formal exercise.
Hit the ground (or do pushups against a wall) and give yourself 20. Done.
Get into a push-up position. Bring one knee in toward the chest with your foot on the floor; extend the other leg straight behind you. Keeping your hands on the floor, your bottom low, and your back straight, “jump” up and switch feet in the air so that your opposite leg is now bent. Continue to jump and alternate legs, almost like sprinting in place.
Stride up stairs, two at a time.
Need to pick up something from across the room? Lunge over to get it. Step forward with your right foot, then bend both legs so that the right knee is at a 90-degree angle and the left knee nearly touches the floor. Straighten, keeping abs tight, and step forward with the left foot to bring your legs together. Repeat with the opposite leg, then continue alternating legs as you step forward. Walking this way won’t win you any races, but you’ll be working nearly every lower body muscle as you go.
Pretend you’re a kid again! Time yourself for a full minute.
A recent study found that this gym-class favorite is one of the most effective abs exercises out there. It gets your heart pumping, too. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, gently supporting your head with your hands. Raise both legs until your shins are parallel with the floor. With your abs tight, straighten your left leg and draw your left elbow across your body toward your right knee. Then do the opposite—straighten your right leg and draw your right elbow toward your left knee. Alternate back and forth as if you’re pedaling a bike.
Do it around your living room—just turn on some music and go.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body, placing your hands palms down on the floor on the outside of either foot. Jump your legs back so that they’re extended and you’re in a classic push-up position. Then jump your legs back into the squat position, and as you return to standing, jump straight into the air and land with slightly bent knees in the starting position.