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How to burn hundreds of calories while wrapping presents

Turn the chore of gift wrapping into a major calorie-burner with these five simple exercises.
If holiday to-dos are keeping you from the gym, use a wrapped present as resistance and perform a few workouts right in your living room.
If holiday to-dos are keeping you from the gym, use a wrapped present as resistance and perform a few workouts right in your living room. Hero Images Inc. / Hero Images Inc.

Over the holidays, people report that they’re much more likely to behave in sedentary ways (like curling up on the couch for that Hallmark movie marathon). That’s why it's important to get creative with your workouts and squeeze in movement when you can.

And wrapping all of those Christmas presents is the perfect opportunity.

We’ve come up with a way to intersperse movement and exercise (and major calorie burning!) into the holiday chore without sacrificing time or needing fancy equipment. Incorporate these five exercises into your next present wrapping session: If you wrap five presents while doing this workout, you’ll burn approximately 250 calories and make progress towards those goals of toning up in the New Year. (While calorie burn during exercise varies from person to person, these calorie counts are for an average-sized person working out at a moderate pace.)

This full-body routine will not only burn calories, but also strengthen your major muscle groups. Go ahead and check gift wrapping and your workout off that to-do list. You may even have some time left over for a corny Christmas movie.

Present Swing & Squat

After you stuff each gift bag, commit to doing 10 swing and squats. Holding a gift bag in front of you, bend your knees and move into a squat. Then, as you stand up, press down through the heels and swing the bag up so that your arms are as high as your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top, and then repeat.

Calorie burn: If you do 10 swings in 1 minute, you’ll burn 20 calories. Do this for five presents, and you’ll burn 100 calories!

Jumping for Joy

After you wrap each box with wrapping paper, place the box on the ground, then jump forwards (over the gift) and back 20 times! Use your arms for extra momentum to help propel you. Remember to land with your knees slightly bent to maintain proper form.

Calorie burn: If this takes you 1 minute, you’ll burn 15 calories. Do this for five presents for a total of 75 calories.

Present Wrapping Wide Leg Shuffle

Then, pick up the gift bag and shuffle over the wrapped box! Holding on to the gift bag, straddle your feet over the wrapped box and pitter-patter your feet on the ground. Channel your inner football player to do this quickly! Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Calorie burn: Do this for 1 minute for a 6-calorie burn … but more importantly, you’ll get your heart rate up, improve circulation and increase blood flow. Do this for five presents in the middle of the workout, and you’ll burn 30 calories plus be doing a high-intensity interval workout (which research shows are the most effective!).

Place the Present

Sitting on the ground next to the tree, grab your wrapped box and do arm circles (drawing half circles over your head from side to side) 10 times to work the abs before placing the present under the tree. By moving the arms in a circle, you’re working your internal and external obliques and your entire core. Pull your naval in towards your spine throughout the entire exercise.

Calorie burn: If this takes you a minute, you’ll burn about 6 calories. Therefore, at 5 repetitions, you’ll burn 30 calories and strengthen your core!

Tree Present Reach

For the holiday gift bags, do a standing leg reach 10 times before finally placing the present under the tree. Holding onto the gift bag, balance on one leg. Press the heel of the standing foot into the ground, and slowly lift the opposite leg up. Squeeze the inner thighs towards each other, and slowly balance as you lower down and then come back up. Keep the back leg straight and engage the hamstring and glute. After doing 10, switch sides.

Calorie burn: While this exercise burns a mere 3 calories per minute, what’s more important is the stabilization and balance improvement that this exercise provides. By standing on one leg, your ankle, knee and hip joints all help stabilize the muscles and bones in your body. This strength training move helps improve standing posture and hip mobility, too.

Even after the holidays, you can keep this workout on standby when you’re short on time and are looking for a quick way to exercise in your house. Substitute the wrapped presents for other household items — you can increase the weight of the items you choose as you start to build strength.


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