Be a better nurse. Sleep more. Eat healthier. Exercise each day. Try this new diet.

If you’re like most nurses, you see and hear these messages every day. But some days, you just can’t fit in all the necessary self-care tips you’re supposed to incorporate into your life. Maybe you find a way to get more sleep, but it’s at the expense of exercising. Or, to be a better nurse, perhaps you’re spending less time on healthy eating, so you have more time with your patients.

Are there some lifestyle hacks to burn calories and fit more fitness into your life without a lot of hassle?

Yes, there is! In this article, I discuss five ways to burn 100 calories a day without adding more stress to your life or rearranging your schedule to accommodate huge chunks of time. With these simple strategies, you don’t have to head to the gym for extra calorie-burning.

1. Take the stairs.

You likely have several opportunities throughout the day to take the stairs (as opposed to waiting in line for the elevator). Since the stairs are often readily available to you, they’re easy to incorporate into your daily routine with next to no additional time spent. If you take the stairs for a minimum of 10 minutes per day (provided you keep a consistent pace when you’re moving), you’ll burn right around 100 calories.

2. Chuckle out loud.

In 2005, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that 10-15 minutes of belly laughter a day could burn up to 50 calories. If you spread that belly laughter our during your shift, you’ll not only burn 100 calories, but you’ll boost your mood and smile your way through the day in the process.

3. Pick up your walking pace while at work.

For those of you who track your steps with an app or device, a brisk, one-mile walk will burn approximately 100 calories. Although your typical day probably consists of several starts, stops, and periods of sitting down, pick up the pace in locations where you have a longer jaunt (like from the parking lot to the building, down long hallways, through the cafeteria, and more). This way, you’ll sneak in exercise while on duty.

4. Stand whenever possible.

An article from Shape magazine suggests standing, as opposed to sitting, for a minimum of 40 minutes per day to burn 100 calories. Also, the article mentions you don’t have to stand for 40 consecutive minutes—You can break it up into four 10-minute segments, which might be more suitable in a busy setting.

5. Cook dinner for yourself and your family.

Shredding, chopping, dicing, and cleaning up your culinary endeavors will give your metabolism a jolt even before you eat. Depending on how vigorously you cook, 40-50 minutes of cooking prep is sufficient to hit the 100-calorie mark (and maybe more).

Over time, the calories burned by making these small changes will add up. It can’t get much easier than this to torch calories.


Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio

Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is a Chicago-based, freelance lifestyle writer, licensed occupational therapist, and certified Pilates instructor. Her expertise is in health, wellness, fitness, and chronic illness management.

Latest posts by Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio (see all)

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