2019 is here and it’s time to look to the future and the year ahead. It’s a cliche but we often see the new year as a chance to get in the best shape of our lives.
Every January thousands of us decide to join gyms. We buy all sorts of fancy electronic gadgetry to track our progress from armchair athlete to adonis. We buy trainers with so much support in them that it feels like we’re walking on marshmallows.
But then – after a few weeks of good intentions, low-carb lunches, and cramp-inducing over enthusiasm at the Wednesday night body pump class – things start to slide, and the temptation to get back to the comforts of the sofa and convenient access to the fridge becomes overwhelming.
If that sounds familiar then don’t despair. I’ve been doing some careful and very “scientific” research to find five ways to workout with a bit less fuss.
Reading a book
It won’t come as much of a surprise to hear this from someone working at a company dedicated to helping people make personalised books, but it turns out that reading is good for you in more ways than one.
Not only does reading a good book help expand the mind and feed the imagination, it also burns calories.
For example, a person weighing 72kg burns 67 calories an hour laying down reading a good book. For a more intense workout, read sitting up to burn some extra calories (86 an hour for our example bookworm).
And if you’re looking for something fascinating to read how about taking a look right here.
Having a good hard think
If you’re the type of sportsperson that’s prone to injury and the idea of reading give you visions of paper cuts then don’t worry, I’ve got the workout for you: having a good old think.
Pulling your best “pondering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything” face and trying to puzzle out the answers to some of the big questions burns between 20-50 more calories per day than sitting around doing nothing.
As a bonus, if you’re trying out the thinking person’s mental workout but feel yourself getting tired, it’s easy to grab a sneaky rest by turning your brain off and doing nothing. Just remember to keep your pondering face firmly on…
On the subject of doing nothing, it turns out that even that counts as exercise of a sort.
Even if you were able to spend an entire day sitting around doing absolutely nothing, your body would still be busily burning calories as it goes about its normal business of keeping your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your brain running the show.
According to a recent study, a forty-year-old American woman of average height and weight burns about 1,500 calories a day simply by staying alive. Which is great news for those days when exerting yourself any more than the bare minimum feels like a bridge too far.
Turn down the heating
As much as a good workout is typically a hot and sweaty affair, scientific research shows that we actually burn more calories when the mercury sinks. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, if it’s cold then your body has to burn more calories to keep you warm.
Obviously you’ve got to be careful not to be too cold though. The optimum temperature is apparently, 64℉ (17.8℃).
Eat more Thai food
Last but by no means least, if reading books or doing nothing at all seem like unconventional ways of burning calories to you, then here’s a real mindmelter…
Eating Thai food actually boosts your metabolism by 21%. Means that not only is Thai food delicious, it also helps your body to increase its ability convert food into energy. Amazing!
If all that talk of reading books and eating Thai food has got you thinking of ways to combine the elements of your not-so-gruelling new fitness regime, then how about taking a look at our Wise(ish) Words for Foodies book.
Not only is it a great way to celebrate someone’s love of all things culinary, it turns out that as long as you mention Thai green curry somewhere, it’s technically an exercise guide too!
As for me, I’m off to turn the heating down and cancel my gym membership.