With a demanding desk job, the chances of you going to the gym for a workout or out for a jog are minimal if ever. Lately, you’ve been packing on the pounds but your inactive lifestyle leaves you wondering how to burn calories at your desk.
Scientifically your body will burn calories whether you are working out in the gym or lying down. The body uses energy for important processes like respiration and digestion. This means that you will burn calories without much physical activity. However, to achieve noticeable and lasting results, you will need to be more intentional and persistent especially if you have a desk job.
1. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water increases your metabolism which helps the body to burn calories. According to a Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism study, an 8 oz. glass of water will burn approximately 12 calories. So, if you drink two liters per day, you will burn nearly 100 calories. Water also removes waste and cleans the inside of your body. This means that your body will tap into stored energy and burn more calories.
2. Maintain Good Body Posture
If you’re sitting at your desk all day, you might as well do it properly. The perfect sitting posture requires you to straighten your back, elongate your spine, tighten your abs, and hold your neck and shoulders back in a relaxed position. Maintaining this sitting posture requires good effort from the muscles in your shoulders, back, and torso. This will not only strengthen your core but also promote calorie burning.
3. Drink Green Tea
Ditch the cappuccino or latte and go for green tea instead. The antioxidants in green tea will help to increase your metabolic rate. This means you will burn calories as you sit at your desk. An additional benefit of green tea is that it keeps you calm and mentally alert. This reduces work-related anxiety and prevents overeating and constant snacking that comes with stress, especially if you’re a desk worker.
4. Take Breaks throughout the Day
If you work at a desk all day, one of the best things you can do is to take frequent walking breaks. These breaks add up to burn calories. Walk to the bathroom on a different floor and to refill your water bottle. When you’re talking on the phone, instead of staying seated stand up and pace. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of calling their extension. At the very least, get up from your desk once each hour.
5. Sit on a Stability Ball
Using a stability ball instead of your office chair for a good part of the day will help you burn calories at your desk. To stay balanced on the ball, your body will engage your abdominal and oblique muscles which will promote the calorie-burning process. Also, sitting on the ball keeps you moving from side to side, front and back unlike sitting on a chair where you’re stationary the entire time.
6. Eat Spicy Food
If you can handle the heat, incorporating spicy food in your diet once in a while will increase your metabolic rate and help you burn calories. Capsaicin, a component in chili peppers, triggers a thermogenic process that causes the body to generate heat as you digest it (ever seen people sweat when they’re eating spicy food?). This process burns calories as a result.
7. Stretch Your Body
Stretching can relieve your body from the cramps and soreness that comes with sitting at a desk for long hours. It can also help you burn a few calories. To stretch the sides of your body, sit in an upright position with your arms raised above your head. Put your two hands together and lean to the right until you feel a stretch on your left side. Hold it for about 15 seconds, then lean to the left side as well.
8. Chew Your Food Properly
Chew your food until there are no lumps. Research has revealed that chewing your food thoroughly will increase the number of calories you’ll burn during digestion (10 extra calories for each 300-calorie meal). This adds up to 2000 extra calories per month. Fast eaters do not burn any calories during digestion. In fact, chewing food too fast leads to obesity and a myriad of other health problems.
9. Exercise at Your Desk
Be intentional about taking out a few minutes to exercise at your desk. You can do this when you get to work early, on your lunch break or at the end of the workday.
· Desk Push-Ups
Place your palms on your desk, close to the edge. Stretch your legs until your body is straight. Lower your chest towards the desk while bending your elbows. Push up and repeat.
· Chair Lunges
Stand up and take one step forward from your chair. Bend your knee and lift the top of your foot onto the seat behind you. With your hands on your hips, lower yourself to 90 degrees then rise up. Repeat 10 times then switch legs.
· Leg Toners
Sit upright on your office chair and straighten your legs, crossing one over the other. Hold that position until your muscles start shaking. This is the best way to strengthen your abs and legs while sitting at your desk.
· Pretend Walk
Sit upright with your knees bent. Lift your right leg and lower it, then do the same with your left leg and repeat 10 times for each leg.
· Calf Raises
Sit upright and place your feet on the floor (they should be flat). Raise the heels above the floor—try to raise them as far as you can. Lower them and repeat 10 times.
If you thought it was impossible to burn calories with a desk job, now you know that’s not true. We hope that these tips have answered your questions on how to burn calories at your desk. You might not have the opportunity to hit the gym because of your crazy schedule, but you can still lose the extra weight. Stay consistent with these tips, and you’ll start burning calories and looking lean in a short time.