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5 Ways You’re Getting a Workout Without Even Trying

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Let's be real: "Working out after work" is basically an oxymoron. Because by the time you've wrapped everything up at work (and by "everything" we mean "all the urgent stuff your boss asked you to finish at the last minute"), figured out dinner plans for the night (you're one frozen entrée away from a nervous breakdown), bundled up and mentally prepared to brave the cold, finally gotten your car windows to defrost, and completed that one "quick" errand that always ends up taking four times longer than you planned, the likelihood of you actually stepping foot in the gym is, well, as slim as you'd like to be by the end of this year.

But don't get discouraged just yet. We've done a little research and are happy to report that burning a few extra calories isn't nearly as hard as you think it is. In fact, you're probably burning calories right now without even realizing it! We know you're super busy, so here's a few examples of how you can actually burn calories by just living in the hustle and bustle that is life.

Chewing Gum burns 11 calories per hour.

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It's time to get out the Doublemint, ladies. It turns out chewing gum burns about 11 calories per hour, according to an odd-but-fascinating study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 11 calories in an hour might not sound like all that much, but it's 19 percent more than the average person burns by just sitting in a chair for the same period of time, according to Mayo Clinic, so it's certainly worth a try!

Not only does chewing gum burn calories, it can also reduce the number of calories you consume in the first place! In one small 2015 study, researchers found that people who chewed sugarless gum had less of an appetite for up to 30 minutes after chewing the gum than people who didn't chew gum. Translation? Chewing sugarless gum can be a useful tool for reducing your appetite and stopping unhealthy cravings from taking over your day. And if you go for a pack of sugarless gum that includes xylitol as the sweetener, you're getting a triple-whammy for your health: Xylitol helps fight dental cavities!

Shopping burns 210 calories per hour.

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Carrie Bradshaw was right all along: Shopping really does count as cardio! A 125-pound person burns 105 calories shopping for 30 minutes, according to Harvard Medical School, and that's with a cart! Just think of how much flab you'd burn — and muscle you'd gain! — from lugging around a basket!

But if you're going to do it, you gotta do it right. Many of us snack mindlessly while we shop, according to a 2013 review of 25 different studies. This bad habit obviously cancels out the calories burned, but now you know the solution to that problem: Just pop a piece of sugarless gum in your mouth and get shopping!

Brushing your teeth burns 5.7 calories in two minutes.

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Yes, really. If you're battling gravity, you're burning calories. Which means brushing your teeth counts as an actual calorie-burning activity. And while the exact number of calories burned varies depending on who you ask, some sources say it can burn nearly 6 calories in just two minutes.

If you really want to "feel the burn," try switching arms in one-minute intervals or standing on one foot while you brush. And if you're feeling really ambitious, researchers at Harvard Medical School recommend doing side leg lifts, squats, and toe raises while you brush your teeth to squeeze more fitness into your daily routine.

Vacuuming burns 136 calories per hour.

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Cleaning activities such as vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, scrubbing the tub, and rearranging the closet definitely count as unofficial workouts. Depending on the size of your home, you could burn as many as 68 calories per 30 minutes, according to the Calorie Control Council. Hate vacuuming? Washing the dishes will burn just as many — if not more — calories, depending on how many dishes you have to wash and whether or not you do them all by hand or put some in the dishwasher.

Laughing burns 10 calories in 15 minutes.

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Laughter actually is the best medicine, according to a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Researchers found that just 15 minutes of laughter per day can burn anywhere from 10 to 40 calories, depending on the person's weight and the intensity of the laughter. That's enough laughing to drop one to four pounds per year!

Of course these everyday activities aren't going to drastically change the numbers on the scale without some additional smart eating and physical activity, but when you're a busy woman who's juggling a million things at once, it's a good reminder that just living your busy, full life is giving your body some of the movement it needs.

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