Weight Loss for Couch Potatoes

10 little things you can do to burn more calories

By Jen Moore | Mar 14, 2019

Let’s face it, we’re busy people.

We’ve got family, a job, a home to take care, and whatever little sleep we manage to squeeze in between.

So, maybe working out and watching what we eat isn’t exactly at the top of our list of priorities. But that’s ok, because losing weight can be boiled down to one indisputable fact:


Calories out > Calories in = Weight Loss


So whether your busy, tired, or just plain lazy there are simple ways you can burn a few extra calories each day without ever setting foot in a gym.*

*All numbers found using calorie counters were based on a 150-pound person. Actual number of calories burned may vary based on weight.


1.) Drink Coffee

Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which increases your metabolism and helps you get rid of fat. In addition, studies have shown that coffee can also work as an appetite suppressant, keeping you fuller longer. But, make sure you skip the sugar and cream, that way you’re not adding any unnecessary extra calories back into your die

2.) Get Scared

Horror film buffs will love this one. A study by the University of Westminster found that watching a scary movie for 90 minutes burns about 113 calories for the average movie lover. The reason for this is that your adrenaline surges as bite your nails waiting for the killer to make his move. This then causes your basal metabolic rate to increase. So, next time you argue with your buddies about which movie to see, remind them that you have science on you side. 

3.) Fidget

Any sort of movement makes a difference, so even when you’re just chilling on the couch watching TV or sitting at your desk at work, you could be burning extra calories.  According to an Iowa State University study, fidgeters burned 300 calories more a day than those who stayed stationary. So, keep tapping those feet and fingers; if your co-workers complain, just tell them “Hey, I’m working out!”

4.) Get Busy

You know what I’m talking about…

Getting horizontal can be an excellent way to get in a little extra cardio each day. According to a 2013 study, we burn 3.6 calories a minute during sex, or approximately 85 each session.  But what if you don’t have that special someone to knock boots with? Fear not, you’ll burn around the same calories going solo.

So, now that you know this, my question is: what are you doing still reading this post?

5.) Do Your Chores

Housework can be a grind, but at least you’re getting a workout from it! We calculated that the average 150 pound person burns 88 calories an hour ironing and 136 calories doing general housework. Hmmm, now that you mention it, when was the last time I vacuumed the carpet?

6.) Cook

Spend about an hour preparing, cooking, and serving your own dinner and we calculated that you’ve got another 136 calories in the bank. Plus, since you’re in charge of the menu, you can create healthier versions of your favorite restaurant meals, saving you even more calories.

7.) Turn Down Your Heat

When temperatures fall, your body expends more energy trying to heat itself back up, and to do that, it burns fat.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to freeze to death…a study published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism says that keeping your thermostat in the lower 60's is enough to burn the extra calories.

8.) Sit on Your Butt

Do you like to lay sprawled out on the couch when you’re watching your favorite TV show? Here’s an idea that’ll blow your mind: sit up. According to a study by researchers for the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, you burn 7 more calories each hour by sitting instead of laying down. So, now you can stop making all of your friends sit on the floor and scoot over!

9.) Get Some Food

We all need to eat, but did you know you’re getting a workout when you shop for your favorite foods? We calculated that you could burn about 157 calories for every hour you spend grocery shopping. But don't stop there! Hopefully this knowledge will inspire you to put down the potato chips and pick up some vegetables instead.

10.) Sing-a-long

Want to look like Beyoncé? Then next time you’re driving, channel your inner diva and belt out your favorite tune. We calculated that the average crooner burns 136 calories an hour singing. So, for your next road trip, don’t be afraid to blast the radio and sing along…it’s good for your health.


Note: This article, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt. Our doctors at DS 2020 all stress that the only proven way to naturally lose weight is through regular exercise and a balanced diet. However, there is a valuable scientific point to these “couch potato” calorie burners- that any way we can be a little more active each day will improve our health. 

Jen Moore

DS 2020 Editor