6 Simple Ways to Burn Calories at Work

Article posted in: Lifestyle
woman sitting on an exercise ball while working

Making time to take a yoga or Zumba class a few days a week is great… so is trying to squeeze in a walk in the morning. But if you spend nine to five (or six, or later) sitting behind a desk all day, it could take a long time to drop stubborn pounds.

To help boost your weight loss efforts, find ways to move more throughout the day. Any kind of physical activity uses energy and the more effort the activity requires, the more calories you burn doing it. Even small changes can add up over time. Here are six tips you can try today to burn calories at work:

1. Stand when you can.
Do it when you’re on the phone talking to a client, reading a memo or just organizing your desk. Simply standing, instead of sitting, burns extra calories. To put this in perspective, a person who weighs 170 pounds will use about 40 more calories in an hour of standing versus than they would sitting. If you’re feeling ambitious, lift one foot an inch or so off the ground and hold that position for as long as you can; then switch feet. That’ll work your leg and core muscles, and will help improve balance.

2. Don’t sit still.
Tap your toes, bounce your knee, and shift in your seat. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, people who fidget can burn up to 350 more calories a day than someone who stays stationary. Yes… 350!

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3. Walk like you’re late (even when you’re not).
Of course you quicken your steps when you’re en route to an important meeting that already started, or high-tailing it back to the office after a lengthy lunch. But you could do the same when you’re just heading to the mail room or delivering a file to a coworker. Walking at a brisk pace can burn approximately 100 more calories per hour than walking at a slow stroll.

4. Set reminders to move.
Your smartphone or computer beeps at you for everything else, so why not add “Activity Alerts” to the list. When you’re busy or in the middle of a project, you could go hours without leaving your desk. Set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes or so as a reminder to get up and do something, whether it’s a lap around the office or just a quick stretch.

5. Add fitness equipment to your office.
A treadmill desk is likely out of the question and a standing desk may not be feasible. But perhaps consider trading your chair for a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball. You’ll work your core muscles and improve balance. You could even keep small hand weights in a drawer and do curls between tasks.

6. Start a lunchtime walk group.
Obviously walking will help you burn calories, but this is also a great way for you and your coworkers to offer support and encouragement to each other. You can hold each other accountable. You could suggest a friendly competition. Use a pedometer to track steps or the number of “active” minutes and see who comes out on top each week.

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Calorie estimates taken from MayoClinic and the National Institute of Health on January 1, 2017.