How to burn calories without even leaving your desk

By Noelle Woon

Here are some tips on how to stay in shape while writing that all-important email.

One of the byproducts of a 9 to 5 job is not having enough time to clock in enough exercise in a day. You wake up early in the morning, prepare for work, and return home feeling worn out. With such a busy schedule, the last thing you want to do is end your day with some burpees.

Keeping up with your health and maintaining an active lifestyle with an office job takes a lot of self-discipline. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and burn calories throughout the day! Believe it or not, your body is burning calories all the time, no matter the time of the day. Even when you’re seemingly sedentary, sitting at your work desk, your body is burning calories.

There are lots of little tips and exercises you can do to up the calories you burn while you’re busy working at your desk. Not only are these tips easy, they’re really convenient too!

Be really fidgety

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy we burn off when we’re not doing any exercise or sports-like activities. A great way to increase NEAT while you’re at your work desk is to fidget a lot. You could tap your toes underneath your desk or even tap your fingers. Calories burnt off by these seemingly trivial physical activities may seem negligible in the short run, but they do add up to quite a bit in the long run.

People who talk a lot with their hands, and are really fidgety tend to burn energy more than those who don’t. Since we spend so much time at our work desks, why not put in more conscious effort to up your NEAT count?

Maintain good posture

Not slouching and maintaining a good posture not only helps you look good, it also makes you engage your muscles. Sitting with a good posture for a long period of time requires strong a core and back. After 5 minutes or so, you’ll be surprised at how physically challenging this could be, especially if you’re not used to having a good posture.

Chair swivels

Swivel chairs are not only convenient, they also make pretty good exercise equipment. Sitting up straight and facing your desktop, swivel your lower body from left to right. This helps you engage your core and also work out your oblique muscles!

Work your calves

When you’re seated at your office, no one sees your legs underneath the desk so it’s easy to give your calves a bit of a workout. Take off your shoes, sit in an upright position and place your feet shoulder width apart. Make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle and lift your heels off the ground.

Stretch regularly

Sitting still or being in a sedentary position for too long can make you feel stiff. Taking regular stretches in between not only increases the calories you burn at work, it also helps with blood circulation. Set a reminder on your phone to stretch every hour - you’ll see that it helps you feel more refreshed throughout the day.

Drink green tea

To burn away fat, fats must be broken down and moved to the bloodstream. Green tea is a great drink that can help you boost fat burning hormones and help you stay refreshed during office hours.

The reason why green tea can help you burn fats is because its antioxidants ant, EGCG, helps to slow down the breaking down of norepinephrine hormones. With more norepinephrine hormones, a stronger signal is sent to the nervous system to break down fat.

Coupled with some simple exercises you do at your desk, you’ll see that drinking green tea is going to help you with your overall health!

Leg raises

This is another little exercise you can do without anyone noticing. Simply sit in an upright position with your knees at 90 degrees. Raise your legs up with control and lower them down slowly.

Stop snacking

This is probably a no brainer but it takes real discipline to stop snacking during working hours. Sometimes snacking helps you stay awake, other times, it helps you de-stress. Whatever the reason, if you’re serious about your health, you need to kick the habit of constantly snacking. Pay close attention to the calorie count at the back of tidbit packages - you’ll be surprised how much calories are in a small pack of goodies!

And there you have it - a few easy tips and tricks that can help you burn more calories and keep up with your health despite your busy schedule. While some of these tips might seem impossibly easy, keep in mind that they’ll count in the long run. You might not see results in a few days, but keep at it for a few weeks and you might start to see some changes!

Want to be notified when new insights are available?