1. Tag. Your Dog's It!
"Help! I don't have time to exercise!" That's what Motherboard Moms told us in a recent poll. In fact, 33 percent said they exercised less than once a week. To the rescue: 16 ways to sneak in some you'll-hardly-notice-them moves that blast calories. Mix and match these moves to the tune of a 150-calorie burn a day, and you'll lose a pound or two a month without ever hitting the gym. Calorie estimates are based on a 5'4 150 pound woman.
"You have to walk the dog anyway. Why not bump up the workout?" asks Tricia Murphy Madden, ACE and AFFAA certified fitness instructor and creator of My Best Friend's Workout (www.mybestfriendsworkout.com) in Seattle. When you're in your yard or a fenced-in park, get a head start on your dog so it's chasing you. Then change direction so it races for you again. Bonnie Matthews does a dog-free version, walking for three minutes, then sprinting for 30 seconds. "It burns fat like nothing else," she says.
Chase your pup fives times every doggy outing, and you'll burn 98 calories per 20-minute stroll.
2. Do the Bounce!
Shara Aaron, 34-year-old mother of three—ages 7, 4, and 15 months—bounces seated on a big exercise ball when she's watching TV with the kids. "A half hour of Sesame Street with your toddler each day really adds up," says the Yardley, Pennsylvania dietician.
30 minutes on the stability ball can burn more than 100 calories.
3. Lunge for Coffee
Bonnie Matthews, 26, works out while her coffee brews. "I do 'kitchen exercises,'" says the Baltimore illustrator who has dropped 130 pounds in three years. "Try resistance pushups against the side of a table. Place your hands on the sides of the table, contract your abs and lower yourself with your arms. Push back up. Do three sets of 15." Or do three sets of 15 squats.
Five minutes of resistance pushups or squats burn 48 calories—right in your kitchen.
4. March to the Music
Need some motivation? Put on your iPod and listen to upbeat music when you're on the treadmill and you'll hardly notice the effort, according to a 2009 study at Brunel University in West London, UK. Among 30 treadmill walkers, those who listened to rock or pop out-walked and outlasted those who listened to blah music or none at all.
Thirty minutes of treadmill rocking burns 170 calories.
5. Burn Through Doc Appointments
Instead of sitting in the waiting room during doctors' appointments, power walk on the sidewalk while you wait, suggests Cindy Lukacevic, 47, mother of two teenage sons and owner of a natural pet store in Crittenden, Kentucky. "I give the receptionist my cell phone number, find a sidewalk where I can power walk, a flight of stairs that I can climb, or a wall where I can do wall squats. Works great!"
A 30-minute mix of power walking, stair climbing, and wall squats burns 238 calories.
6. Bike on Facebook
Mortgage advisor and mom Dana McNerney, 45, has lost four pounds in three months checking Facebook while she rides her indoor exercise bike. "My girlfriend and I call it the Facebook Diet. I use a laptop holder called a FitDesk," she says. "And the longer I stay on Facebook, the more calories I burn. The rule in my house: If you want to get on the computer or a video game, you have to use the bike."
Facebook while riding at a light effort for 30 minutes and burn 197 calories.
8. Make Like an Iron Chef
Cancel the pizza delivery and fire up the burners, suggests dietician Cooper. Mashing garlic, dicing veggies, and tossing salad is surprisingly strenuous.
30 minutes of culinary sweat burns 60 calories. Get chopping.
9. Laugh Your Fat Off!
Watch an episode of Modern Family —or whatever makes you hoot. A 2007 study at Vanderbilt University found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughing a day burns anywhere from 10 to 40 calories
Laugh for 10, burn 10-plus!
10. Nurse Your Baby
Samantha Slaven-Bick, 39, a publicist in West Hollywood, California, weighs five pounds less than she did before she had her son ten months ago—all because of nursing, she says: "It's a great breastfeeding perk." Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day, says Cooper, who suggests women keep pumping milk at the same rate even after their baby starts eating solid food around six months. "You can then bank the breast milk for babies of moms who cannot breastfeed," the dietician says. "Contact breast milk banks via the Internet, your pediatrician, or phone book."
Breastfeeding or pumping milk = a 500-calorie burn
12. Brush to the Rumba
Valerie Orsoni, founder of LeBootCamp, an online health and fitness program, says she does the "Brazilian move" every day while she brushes her teeth. "I tilt my hips forward and backward while contracting my buttocks muscles."
Rumba for three minutes when you brush twice a day, and you'll burn through 140 calories a week—or 10 calories every dancing brush.
13. Turn TV Ads Into Cardio Intervals
"This is a sneaky way to make watching TV a little more active," says Jessica Matthews: First TV break, upper body. Do eight push-ups. Rest a few seconds and repeat. Second break, lower body: Do lunges, squats, and glute bridges (i.e. lie on your back, knees bent, and lift your hips off the floor to work your butt muscles—but don't lift so high that your back muscles take over). Third break, core. Do standard crunch sit-ups and forearm planks. Place your elbows directly under your shoulder, forearms and palms on the floor. Lift your body in a straight line, hold for five seconds, relax and repeat.
Exercising through three TV breaks takes about 10 minutes, burning 70 calories.
15. Grab Some More ZZZs
Sleep deprivation is no good for your waistline, according to a 2009 University of Chicago study. When healthy men and women slept only 5.5 hours a night for two weeks, they snacked on 200 more calories a day than they did on 8.5 hours of sleep. So, reset the alarm and snooze on.
Ditch 200 calories in snacking just by sleeping!
16. Beef Up Your Baby
Add two six-packs of water bottles to the stroller when you're walking your baby, suggests Orsoni: "Walk for a half hour and you'll burn 180 calories with the added packs." No baby? Buy yourself a weighted vest at a sports store, load it with 10-15 pounds of weights, walk a half hour and you'll accomplish the same thing—with no diaper-changing later.
Burn 180 calories more in 30 minutes by adding weight to your walk.