If heading to the gym isn’t exactly on your list of favorite things to do, there are lots of everyday activities that burn calories and can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. You’ll be surprised at how many pounds you will burn away by altering your habits and including healthy options to your routine.

Calorie Burning Activities at Home

On Trash Day: We all have trash and it doesn’t walk to the curb by itself. Instead of carrying as much as you can at one time, take smaller loads and make more trips. And instead of just walking back to your house or apartment, try doing walking lunges and/or squats. Do a lunge on the left leg, then on the right, and add a squat. Repeat. Or, skip the lunge. Just take a step, place feet shoulder width apart, then bend at the knees for a squat, squeezing your behind as you bend. Stand and repeat. To add a little arm work, make your hands into fists that meet in front of you, chest level, as you stand. As you go into the squat, extend your arms behind your back, tightening your triceps.

The neighbors may think you’ve gone crazy, but who cares? You aren’t the one that painted your mailbox neon green.

NOTE: if you haven’t done these exercises before, consult with an expert just to make sure you are using the proper form to avoid injury. Remember DON’T extend your knees past your toes when doing lunges or squats, and DO keep your core tight and your back straight.

Dance, Dance, Dance!:Crank up your favorite music and dance while you’re vacuuming, mopping, or putting away the laundry, Mrs. Doubtfire-style. It will lift your mood, help you practice those killer moves, and put a smile on your dog’s face as well as your own. Justin Timberlake’s got nothing on you! There are many exercises to do while watching TV, cooking, or waiting for the spin cycle. If you can, purchase 1 to 3-pound weights or a 4-6 pound medicine ball. Or, here’s a nifty idea! Use soup or tomato cans instead. (Just be careful not to drop one on your foot.)

When cooking: Remember to put some spice in your life! Ever notice those little beads of sweat that appear on your upper lip when you eat something spicy? That’s a sign your body is heating up too. Studies have shown that just a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper can naturally raise your metabolism.

Grocery Shopping:When you go to the grocery store, don’t wait for someone to vacate the closest parking spot. Instead, park farther away so that you need to take additional steps to get to the front door. Even better, when you’re through loading your groceries into the trunk, instead of bringing the cart to the designated “cart return” spot nearest your car, take it all the way to the entrance and lightly jog back.

Fun Ways to Lose Weight

The next time you go out, instead of catching dinner and a movie, go bowling instead. As a general guide, if you weigh 150 pounds, you could burn around 105 calories in 30 minutes while bowling. At 200 pounds, you can burn 145 calories in 30 minutes. And if you are 250 pounds, you can burn a whopping 180 calories in just 30 minutes. Or, if it’s more your thing, play a game of Ping Pong, toss a Frisbee with the kids, or shoot some pool. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate with a handy dandy body of water nearby, why not find a kayak built for two?

At Work Workouts

Stand up! Standing burns 33 percent more calories than sitting. If you’re in a meeting, waiting in a reception area, or having a conversation with the boss, stand up rather than sit whenever you can. Pacing while on the phone burns extra calories. It also makes you look really, really, important.

While at your desk, sit on a stability ball instead of a chair. Not only does this balancing act burn extra calories, it helps strengthen your core.

Take the stairs. Skipping the elevator ride whenever possible will give you a leg up on weight loss and will also tone your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings.

Go for a stroll! If there are restaurants near your office, take the sidewalk to lunch instead of the street. Getting some fresh air and having a few extra minutes to clear your mind are additional benefits of skipping the drive.

How to Exercise at Home Without Equipment

Try Chair Taps: Place a kitchen chair in a spot with a little extra space around it (in front of the TV, for instance). Stand in front of the chair, chin up, core strong, hands clasped in front of you at chest level. For an extra boost and to help strengthen your arms, press your palms together tightly as you do this exercise.

Next, squeeze your glutes and lower your body as if you’re going to sit – but don’t actually sit. Just do as the name says, tap your rear end on the chair lightly and then rise back up again.

Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps, however many you can do, and build up to 3 sets of 15 reps as you gain strength. (Meaning, 3 sets of 15 reps with a pause between each set. Try to keep the pause short, so your heart rate stays up the entire time.) For additional resistance, hold 2 tomato cans in each hand or a medicine ball close to your chest.

If you want more soup can exercises, browse the web, and learn these impress techniques to sculpt your upper body! As you progress, you can move on to using weights, a medicine ball or kettle bells to increase the intensity of your at-home workouts.

We could go on and on with suggestions for adding little bursts of exercise to your daily regimen, but by now you probably get the picture! Why not come up with your own energy boosting, calorie burning modifications to liven up the normal humdrum activities in your day? Chances are, you’ll love the change and make it a newfound way of life!