Which indoor activities burn the most calories?
Find out the best exercises and chores to do if you want to blast fat without leaving the house.
With fewer chances to exercise and burn off extra energy outside of the house, we all risk emerging from the coronavirus pandemic a few kilos heavier.
Working from home can lead to more sitting, and less incidental activity such as walking to the train station or bus stop. And then there’s the constant close proximity of the fridge and pantry.
“In times of stress, one of the first things we can do is stop exercising and preparing healthy meals,” says Brooke Olsen, fitness centre supervisor at Victoria University.
“People might be out of routine because they’re working from home and can no longer go to the gym on Monday and their yoga class on another evening.
“And I’ve seen Facebook posts from people working at home who’ve eaten a week’s snack supply in a few days.”
Why it’s important to keep active during coronavirus lockdowns
Deakin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition co-director Professor Jo Salmon says staying active at home and in the backyard brings all-round benefits.
“Exercise is a good way to release stress and anxiety,” she says.
“And in lockdown, being active and burning energy helps limit weight gain and reduces your risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.”
How to get more incidental exercise at home
You don’t need a home gym or special equipment to stay active.
“I’m a fan of the one-minute dance party! If you hear a song you like on the radio, dance,” says Brooke.
“Gardening is good exercise and you can use items around your home to help you burn calories. Walk up and down the stairs, do push-ups against a wall and use shopping bags filled with groceries as dumb bells.”
Jo advises standing up for meetings or phone calls, and squeezing in short sets of exercises throughout the day.
“We did research that found two minutes of light-intensity activity after eating a meal – 30 seconds each of knee lifts, squats, step-ups and dips – make a big difference to how our body uses glucose or energy,” says Jo.
“Or try a seven-minute high intensity workout, like skipping in the backyard. Break up your day with bursts of physical activity.”
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How many calories can you burn in 30 minutes?
Even household chores can help keep your fitness levels up, but not all activities are equal when it comes to burning calories.
- Dancing video games: 209 (women); 240 (men)
- Jazzercise: 175 (women); 200 (men)
- Ballet, jazz or modern dancing: 145 (women); 167 (men)
- Salsa or swing dancing: 131 (women); 150 (men)
- Chopping wood: 131 (women); 150 (men)
- Juggling: 116 (women); 134 (men)
- Home exercise: 111 (women); 127 (men)
- Aerobic video games: 111 (women); 127 (men)
- Home repairs: 102 (women); 117 (men)
- Cleaning: 96 (women); 110 (men)
- Tango, mambo or cha-cha dancing: 87 (women); 200 (men)
- Light gardening: 87 (women); 100 (men)
- Wii Fit: 67 (women); 77 (men)
- Washing car: 59 (women); 67 (men)
- Sex: 53 (women); 60 (men)
- Meditating: 29 (women); 33 (men)
Written by Sarah Marinos.