10 ways to burn calories without stepping foot in the gym

Carina Storrs, Special to CNN

Updated 1639 GMT (0039 HKT) August 18, 2017
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Laughter is not only the best medicine, it is the most effortless way to burn calories. Chuckling through a 15-minute stand-up comedy routine can burn between 10 and 40 calories. And this feel-good activity releases a feel-good hormone called serotonin that could reduce appetite.
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Whether you love the disco or can only tolerate an occasional slow dance at weddings, dancing has major weight loss potential. Jamming with friends at a party can burn between 450 and 600 calories, depending on how vigorously you get down. Even swaying at a concert for an hour can counter the effects of that small 230-calorie order of McDonald's French fries you might be tempted to eat on the way home.
Sex is one of the best workouts outside the gym. For those who can make it last 30 minutes, intercourse can burn about 160 calories. The same amount of foreplay expends about 55 calories. shutterstock
When rifling through racks of clothes or bins of school supplies, know that an hour of shopping can burn about 180 calories. And if you go grocery shopping for that amount of time, all the heavy lifting can help you burn closer to 260 calories. Just make sure to avoid "shopping and eating at the same time," said Dr. Holly Lofton, director of the Weight Management Program at NYU's Langone Medical Center.
For overweight women and men, standing instead of sitting at the desk burns about two more calories a minute and can lead to a weight loss of 16 to 20 pounds a year, according to Mira Rasmussen, an exercise physiologist at the Obesity Action Coalition, an obesity advocacy group. You can also try pacing the office; a total of two hours a week can lead to a weight reduction of about 10 pounds a year, Rasmussen estimated. Shutterstock
Don't be shy about wailing along to your favorite tunes, at least in the privacy of your own home or car. Singing can burn about 136 calories. Bonus if you can also dance to your favorite tunes.

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Cooking may seem like a hassle, but 30 minutes in the kitchen can burn about 100 calories. Sure, it would be much easier to pick up dinner on the way home, but "you don't get the benefits of chopping and moving around," Lofton said. Shutterstock
You may hate the subzero temperatures in your office, but that uncontrollable shivering is probably keeping you from gaining weight. A recent small study found that people burned 438 more calories in a room that was 60 degrees than in an 81-degree room. At that rate, you could burn about 18 calories in an hour just by being a tad chilly. LIAM MCBURNEY/AFP/Getty Images
The house won't clean itself, so you might as well buckle down and burn some calories. For an average-size man, it takes about 110 calories to do a half-hour's worth of sweeping or vacuuming. For an average-size woman, it takes about 95 calories.
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When you really put your mind to it, you can burn an additional 1½ calories a minute. The brain, an energy suck compared with the rest of the body's organs, uses up 20% of the calories you go through in a day. But demanding more of those already active neurons -- say, by focusing on a crossword puzzle or a Rubik's Cube -- can ramp up the amount of energy the brain burns through. PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images/File