When you’re on a quest to lose weight, you’ve probably heard more than a time or two that you need to balance your calories. Eat less, exercise more, and you’ll create that calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss. Still, that’s easier said than done when you spend all of your days in the office.
The gold-star option for burning calories during the work day is to actually get in a challenging workout of at least 30 minutes either before, during or after work -- but when that’s not an option, you’ll have to try some alternatives.
If you’re counting calories, here are some ways to burn more while you’re on the job.
Do interval training. OK, this isn’t one you can necessarily do while you’re actually working, but it’s something you can do during your lunch or break time that will increase your metabolism for the rest of the day -- and that means you’ll burn more calories overall. High-intensity interval training is pretty simple: perform a short warmup, and then do any type of physical activity you enjoy, such as jogging or cycling, at maximum intensity for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then slow down to about 50 percent for another minute before speeding up again. Repeat that cycle six times and you’ll have gotten in a killer workout in a short amount of time, plus you’ll be reaping the benefits of increased metabolism all day.
Stand up -- or use a treadmill desk. Sitting all day long can be detrimental to your health, and getting regular exercise may not be enough to counteract it. Spend some time off your bum by rearranging your desk to a standing height. If that suits you, you could even invest in the treadmill desk to burn a lot more calories at a low intensity throughout the day.
Fidget -- just not during meetings. Bobbing your foot up and down while you sit cross-legged or tapping your fingers on the board room table might seem rude while you’re in the middle of a work meeting, but when you’re at your own desk, it can help you burn more calories. According to a study published in 2012, all that "incidental physical activity" can even increase your cardiorespiratory fitness.
Take the stairs. If you work on the 32nd floor of an office building, you’re not likely to take the stairs to work every day -- though you certainly could. Still, there’s no reason you couldn’t stop on the 27th floor and walk up five flights before work. For a 185-pound person, climbing stairs just 15 minutes a day can burn an additional 133 calories, according to Harvard Medical School.
Take active breaks. When you need a brain break, resist the urge to turn to your favorite social media feed and get up and move around the building instead. Walk to the bathroom that’s farther away from your desk. Get coffee in another department, or even use your formal break times to take a spin around the building.
While it might not seem like much, all of these little bits of activity can really add up, helping to clear your mind, improve your physical appearance and perhaps even make you a more productive worker.
Image courtesy Mateus Lunardi Dutra, Flickr