Occasionally a study comes along that’s just so strange I HAVE to share it with you. And this new one, conducted at Tokyo’s Waseda University, qualifies.
You know the old insult about not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time?
Well it turns out if you’re one of those folks who CAN do both you’re in luck. Because according to researchers, chewing gum while walking boosts heart rate, and in some cases calorie burn, with zero extra effort.
For the small study, researchers divided 46 volunteers into two groups. The groups had a mixture of both men and women. And the participants ranged in age from 21 years old to 69.
The first group chewed two different sized pieces of gum while walking for 15 minutes. The second group ate a powder, which contained the same ingredients as the gum, before walking.
The researchers tracked resting and average heart rates, distances covered and walking cadence. And they calculated calorie burn, or energy expenditure, based on walking speed and body mass index.
Gum chewing increased heart rate & calorie burn
To everyone’s surprise, there was a significant increase in heart rate across the board for the folks who chewed gum. Which is welcome news for anyone focused on raising his or her heart rate to burn fat and lose weight while exercising.
But if you’re a guy 40 or older, an increase in heart rate isn’t the only benefit to be had from gum chewing. Guys in this category also burned significantly more calories while walking too.
Some women burned a few more too, but not enough to reach a statistical significance. However, this wasn’t the first study on energy and gum chewing. Earlier research revealed chewing sugar-free gum could increase energy expenditure by 19 percent.
Now of course were not talking about a huge impact here. You’re not going to suddenly slim down over night. Or turn into a buff Greek god.
But the extra benefits, with zero extra effort, make this a fun way to give your normal workout a little boost. Be sure to look for a “cleaner” gum without a bunch of problematic chemicals. Brands we like around here are Train Gum and Chicza Organic Rainforest Gum.
3 other weird ways to burn MORE calories
But don’t stop there. There are other weird but effective ways to squeeze a bit more benefit out of your workouts… or even just your daily activities.
1. Green tea:
For your afternoon pick me up opt for a cup of green tea. Green tea is brimming with catechins. These antioxidants work with caffeine to give your metabolism a little boost. And that can help you burn off a few more calories whether you’re working out or just sitting at your desk.
Plus, as an added bonus, the theanine boost you’ll get can help keep you focused so you’re less likely to mindlessly snack or overeat. And if that cup of tea is replacing a sugary soda or coffee drink, you’ll be shaving thousands of calories from your diet by the end of the year.
Next time you head out for a walk try switching things up by listening to a funny podcast or comedy sketch instead of music. Because, as wacky as it sounds, researchers say genuine belly laughter can increase your calorie burn and heart rate by 10 to 20 percent over resting.
Which means a 15 to 20 minute laugh session could shave an extra 10 to 40 calories out of your workout.
And this trick works when you’re not out-and-about, too. Cue up some funny bloopers or silly cat videos at your desk and laugh your way through a few extra calories.
A stack of studies has shown that drinking more cold water increases the number of calories your body burns. The process, known as thermogenesis, naturally bumps up your metabolic rate.
For example, in one study drinking 500 ml of chilled water (around 17 ounces) boosted metabolic rates in 14 volunteers by 30 percent. And that higher metabolic rate lasts for at least an hour.
And in another study on overweight women, increasing the amount of water they were drinking to 34 ounces a day led to significant weight loss. Without making any other changes, they ladies dropped an extra 4.4 pounds in a year.
So whether you’re working out or simply running errands go ahead and fill up your water bottle. You’ll be effortlessly burning through extra calories while staying hydrated. And as an added bonus, the water will help you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to snack or overeat.
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