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Need to burn off some holiday calories? Just follow this painfully obvious advice

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

November 26, 2010|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
  • Breaking news: Walking to and from the mall can burn calories!
Breaking news: Walking to and from the mall can burn calories! (Sean Gallup / Getty Images )

With the winter holidays here, many of us are thinking about what we'll be chowing down on in the next several weeks. We'll also be thinking about the ensuing weight gain, and how maybe it wasn't such a good idea to inhale half a pumpkin pie.

But do not fear. Because with the holidays come somewhat lame tips from health experts on how to burn calories the easy way, without schlepping to a gym or pedaling a bicycle. Case in point: Health professionals from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offer these chestnuts that even people in the outer reaches of Tibet have probably heard, and we're pretty sure they don't even have shopping malls.

So let's start with the shopping mall, shall we? Did you know that if you park far from the mall entrance -- stay with us now -- you'll burn more calories walking to the entrance than if you parked close by? Get out! No way! But apparently it's true!

How about getting in some aerobic activity by cleaning your house and preparing for guests? If you do tiring chores such as vacuuming, scrubbing and walking up and down stairs, you'll also burn calories. It seems that you have to do this for at least 10 minutes to get your heart rate up, but we're thinking you can elevate it even higher by tapping into the bottled-up anger and resentment you feel having to play host yet again.

If you're at an airport or train station, you can get in some exercise by walking around the terminal. We'll add that if Transportation Safety Administration agents are chasing you because you refused the scanner and pat-down, you'll probably get in quite a workout!

If driving to your holiday destination, the MD Anderson folks recommend beefing up gas and bathroom breaks by kicking around a soccer ball, throwing a Frisbee, or again, taking a walk. Such dilly-dallying will undoubtedly please your fellow travelers who just want to get on the road and get this whole thing over with already.

And if you're staying at a hotel, get this: Some have a gym -- in the hotel! Now we've heard just about everything. There's no excuse to pack on the pounds this holiday season, so get walking people! Or scrubbing. See you at the mall!

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