By Katie Rosenbrock
So you sit at a desk all day and wish there was something you could do to make your weekly routine a little less ... sedentary. Especially since you’ve probably been reading about how excessive time spent sitting is associated with a host of negative health effects -- even if you exercise regularly.
That and maybe you're trying to lose a little bit of extra weight too, which you know (in addition to eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet) requires that you increase your daily activity levels. But how can you boost the amount you move around (and as a result the amount of calories you burn) throughout the day when most of it is spent sitting behind a desk?
It might be easier than you think. We can't help you find a way to quit your job and pursue a more active career path, but we can offer some helpful tips and tricks that will maximize your time so you can move as much as possible no matter how busy your work day might be.
Just promise us you won't forget the most important thing about health and fitness: there are no shortcuts to success. No matter what your goal is, you have to put in the hard work if you want to achieve it.
That said, think of these tips as exercise extras; little things you can do every day and that if performed as habits over time, will add up to big changes in your overall health and fitness.
Alright fine, this one is obvious and we bet you've heard it a million times before. But be honest, how many times a week do you actually take walks during your work day? Instead of eating during your "lunch" break, try chowing down at your desk while you get some work done and then when you're ready for a real break go outside and go for a walk.
This tip can be stacked in the same category as taking a walk. We know you've heard it too many times before, but we still think it’s worth repeating because taking the elevator is just way too easy. We challenge you to make a commitment to taking a few extra steps every day by opting for the stairs any time you have the choice between stepping up and standing still. (This applies on the way down, too!)
What exactly does this mean? Almost anything! Choose the farthest parking spot, get off a subway stop early or take a loop around your building before heading into the office. The possibilities here are almost endless. All you have to do is pay attention and seize the opportunity any time there’s a chance for you to move more.
If you're like me, you totally intend to get up and walk around every 60 minutes or so over the course of the day. But then work takes over, you get sucked into a time intensive task and before you know it three hours have passed since you've moved anything but your fast-typing fingers. An easy way to break this habit is by setting a timer for yourself. Set the alarm on your phone or an alert on your desktop calendar for 60 to 90 minute intervals and make a promise to stand up and move around, even if it’s just to stretch, every time it goes off.
Russell also recommends standing up and pacing around any time you’re talking on the phone. In the same sense, if you're able to access your emails on a mobile device, why not do the same while working on your inbox? Just be sure you choose a safe place to walk where you won’t bump into anyone or anything.
Maybe we sound like your mom, but practicing good posture will force you to engage the muscles in your core, shoulders and back and as a result, lead to an increase in your energy expenditure. In fact, according to one study from researchers at the University of Sydney, it could increase your calorie burn by about 17 percent when compared to sitting in a slouched position. The study found that fidgeting around while seated can increase your calorie burn, too.
One study from the Vanderbilt University Medical center found that laughing can help you burn a few extra calories by raising your heart rate by about 10 to 20 percent. The amount of calories that this might save you is pretty trivial, but still, every little bit helps. Plus, you should never turn down an opportunity to lighten up a bit and relieve a little stress.
Instead of stressing about finding large blocks of time for exercise, try breaking your workouts up into smaller sessions. According to The American College of Sports Medicine, “One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise." Not only will this strategy help you find more time for exercise, but it will also help break up prolonged periods of sitting more frequently. Russell recommends taking breaks for quick burst of cardio. “Go to the stairwell and run up and down a few times,” she says.
For the complete list of the 11 Ways You Can Burn More Calories During The Work Day, go to TheActiveTimes.com.
More From The Active Times:
-- 17 Ways to Burn 100 Calories Right Now
-- 6 Everyday Habits of Extremely Fit People
-- 10 Ways You Can Make This Your Fittest Summer Ever
-- 11 Interesting Ways People Stay Fit Around the World
Prepare Your Glutes For Running