Bathtubs across the world overflowed this week after a study was released comparing taking a hot bath to moderate exercise. Researchers at Loughborough University were studying the effects of different exercises on type 2 diabetes, so they had one group of volunteers cycle for an hour, while the other group lounged in a hot bath tub (40 °C) for the same amount of time. While cycling did burn more calories overall, they discovered that bathing was the caloric equivalent of taking a 30-minute walk—about 140 calories. This study is great news for anyone that loathes cardio and loves bubbles, but there are other lazy ways to torch calories without even putting your trainers on.
FIDGETING, 350 CALORIES A DAY
There are two types of people in this world: those who fidget and those who are annoyed by it. Tapping your foot, shaking your leg, and other general signs of restlessness can be bothersome to those around you—but did you know that they can also help you lose weight? Take that, coworker. Multiple studies have confirmed that fidgeting throughout the entire day can burn ten times more calories than just sitting still; one study from 2005 clocked the number at 350 calories per day, enough to lose 30 to 40 pounds in one year. It makes sense: constant motion, even while sitting, is a form of cardio.
DRINKING GREEN TEA, 183 CALORIES A DAY
When it comes to weight loss, what sounds too good to be true usually is just that. There’s no easy way out. But studies have shown that drinking multiple glasses of green tea each day could have a significant impact on your overall body fat percentage. In fact, a study conducted on obese Thai men found that those who drank green tea burned on average 183 more calories a day than those who did not. Experts credit the tea’s polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants and can help your body more effectively break down fat. You’ll need to drink a lot of tea, though—studies range from three to eight glasses a day—to see serious results.
SWEATING IT OUT, 200-600 CALORIES IN 30 MINUTES
Just like a hot bath, infrared saunas and sweat lodges can also torch calories by causing your resting body temperature to spike. Higher Dose, a New York City spa dedicated to infrared saunas, claims that one 45-minute session of sitting down and doing nothing will burn as many calories as a three to four mile run. Or instead of a sauna, you can choose to wrap yourself up like a burrito and cook inside an infrared blanket (Selena Gomez is said to be a fan). Shape House, an infrared sweat lodge in Los Angeles, claims you can burn anywhere between 800 and 1,600 calories during a single 55-minute session. There are few scientific studies to backup these high caloric claims, though experts do generally agree that sweating can aid in weight loss, mostly from the body’s depletion of water. But how many calories will you be burning exactly? It’s hard to tell.
CLEANING YOUR HOUSE, 100 CALORIES AN HOUR
Perhaps the least relaxing but most beneficial way to burn calories is just by cleaning your house. Sweep the floors, load the dishwasher, scrub the bathtub—minor household activities, done for short intervals, can rack up a serious calorie deficit. Health notes that washing and drying a full sink of dishes for an hour can burn 100 calories, while cleaning every surface in your bathroom for 35 minutes is the equivalent to walking for the same amount of time on the treadmill. Small chores add up, but be careful that you’re not overestimating your effort or time. A 2013 study showed that people who counted housework as part of their exercise routine actually weighed more than those who didn’t. So while you may still need to hit the gym, at least you’ll come home to a pristine house.