5 Wacky Ways to Burn Calories Without Working Out, According to Studies

adamDecember 2019, Spotlite

5 Wacky Ways to Burn Calories Without Working Out, According to Studies

by Kenny Kline

Cardio, strength and resistance training, and other intentional workout routines aren’t the only ways to get rid of your unwanted fats. Incorporating nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can also lend you a hand in burning calories.

NEAT refers to those activities that we subconsciously do in our daily life other than fitness-related activities and playing sports. Walking your dog, fidgeting, playing tag with the children, chewing gums, parking your car away from your destination are all considered as NEAT.

With NEAT, there will be less reliance on calorie restriction and workout training for weight management. Here are a few NEATs and other activities that don’t require formal exercises to burn calories.


In addition to the regulation of cortisol, laughter reduces one’s stress hormones too. As a result, it gets rid of those excess fats the same as how crying works. It is referred to as a ‘mini aerobic workout,’ as well. Like any cardiovascular workout, laughter can increase your circulation and heart rate by 10-20%. As heart rate increases, one’s metabolism also improves.

What’s more, laughter can tone your abdominal muscles. When laughing, your abs tend to contract and expand, which similarly happens when you intentionally workout your core muscles.

Dr. William Fry of Stanford University added that heartily laughing five times a day has similar benefits as a 10-minute workout with a rowing machine. Studies show that laughing for 10-15 minutes can get rid of 50 calories.


By extrapolation, a specific type of tears can help you lose weight. According to Dr. Aaron Neufeld of Los Altos Optometric Group, tears are classified into three, namely Basal, Reflex, and Psychic tears. He added that among the three, psychic tears could promote weight loss. These tears include heart-breaking sobs and those that are shed from emotional distress.

Another study conducted at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre expounded that tears contain cortisol, our body’s stress hormone. Several studies have shown how cortisol levels affect one’s body weight. The higher your cortisol level, the more your body would cling onto your belly fat.

Hence, the more you cry out, the lower your stress level will be, which in turn, helps you to get rid of those extra unwanted fats. Women’s Health also added that it’s best to cry from 7:00 to 10:00 in the evening, which is the peak time for the optimization of cortisone releasing effect. In general, studies show that crying allows you to burn around 1.3 calories per minute.


Eating can burn calories, according to studies. Your body tends to burn calories when you’re masticating or chewing, swallowing, digesting, and storing food. In fact, according to The Healthy, chewing alone requires serious jew muscles, which can burn around 11 calories per hour.

This process is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), as stated in a post on Verywellfit. TEF is another component of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or the total amount of calories you burn throughout a day. TEF takes 5-10% of your TDEE. It’s a small percentage but can already make a difference.

TEF can be more improved when you foods that are high in protein. Your body has to work harder in breaking down and storing protein. Hence, protein-rich food burns more calories, compared to meals that are high in fat and carbohydrates. Additionally, proteins aid you in building and maintaining muscles, consequently reducing fats in your body.

Many individuals prefer taking protein powder nowadays. Many professionals regard this as fine so long as the proportion and way of consumption are still appropriate. It’s best to consult with your doctor to make sure this intake wouldn’t interfere with your weight loss plan.


As surprising as eating, you can burn calories with sleeping too! The National Sleep Foundation explained that when we sleep, our bodies undergo self-repair through releasing growth hormones. Not only protein and muscle synthesis but lipolysis or fat breakdown process is also stimulated while you are in a slumber.

One study uncovered that an entire sleep could let you burn about extra 135-160 calories. This leads to the conclusion that skipping a restful night of sleep can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Lack of sleep can prompt cortisol spike, which, as mentioned, can slow down metabolism and hold onto extra fat.

Additionally, it would cause insulin sensitivity to drop by more than 30%. If your body couldn’t respond to insulin as it should be, it would contribute to hampering your metabolism. Instead of processing fats from the bloodstream, your body would consequently end up storing them, which contributes to your weight gain. Hence, researchers at the University of Chicago used the term “metabolically groggy” to refer to sleep deficiency.


Tapping your fingers or wiggling your legs are considered restlessness, but these can apparently burn 10x more calories than remaining motionless. When fidgeting, you’re moving your muscles all day long and technically expending your energy. Generally, chronic fidgeter or pacer burn more calories than a habitual foot or finger tapper.

Researchers at the Rochester Mayo Clinic in Minnesota determined how many calories people burned in every activity. They found out that sitting while fidgeting burns 54% more calories and standing while fidgeting burned 94% more calories than simply lying motionless.

Iowa State University did the same research and found the same result. They found out that a person can burn up to 600 calories when sitting while fidgeting all day. Plus, standing and fidgeting can increase that calorie expenditure up to 950 calories more than staying still. In a nutshell, continuous motion, even while sitting, is a form of cardiovascular activity.


The total calories burned during crying, laughing, eating, sleeping, and fidgeting might not be considered as a lot, compared to how much you can burn when executing workout training routines. However, even a small amount of calorie consumption can accumulate to a considerable sum. In the long run, these activities can make a difference than being sedentary.

About the Author

Kenny Kline, a long-time entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, and Columbia Business School Alum, Kenny has built his career around creating high-quality, reader-focused digital brands. In his spare time writes online content in the area of diet, fitness, and workouts.