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How To Burn Calories Fast While Sitting Down (From A Doctor)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: November 7, 2022

As a personal trainer, giving advice to people to burn calories while sitting at a desk might sound like a crazy concept. But for many people, spending eight or more hours at a desk is part of everyday life.

But in those situations, there are ways that you can continue with your efforts to lose weight and burn off a few extra calories.

With little more than a few clever ideas, willingness to try out changes, and a stability ball, you could make a big difference.

Let me show you what our team was able to research over the past month.

Quick Summary

  • Your body will still burn calories even when you sit down for long periods, but it will be very little above your basal metabolic rate.
  • Even with a sedentary lifestyle where you sit for extended periods, there are ways to boost how many calories your body will use.
  • You don’t have to resort to push-ups under your desk that might attract some strange looks from colleagues.

Can You Burn Calories While Sitting?

A man working on a laptop while sitting

Yes, you can burn calories while sitting down in more than one way.

And following some simple tips on a daily basis when you have a sedentary lifestyle can quickly add up to some positive health impacts.

This is particularly important if your job involves sitting at a desk all day and you have a naturally slower metabolism [1].

What people don’t realize is that the way they plan out their day at a desk can easily burn more calories through a mix of what you eat and drink and how you move your body.

Let me give you some simple tips.

11 Ways You Can Burn More Calories At Your Desk

Drinking green tea and water

1. Sip On Green Tea

One of the simplest things you can do during the day is to drink two or three cups of green tea.

First of all, green tea is full of antioxidants that are particularly important for anyone going through a weight loss program [2].

More importantly, green tea is good for weight loss because it has a thermogenic effect that will burn more calories [3].

This causes a slight increase in your body temperature by burning off more energy from fat reserves.

2. Start Deskercises

Set a timer on your phone to perform desk exercises every couple of hours.

Desk yoga is one option, and a simple routine you can do is raise your lower legs straight off the ground and hold them parallel to the ground. This will engage the leg muscles in your quads, but you should also feel this in your core muscles.

Then slowly lower them back down to the starting position and repeat a few times to burn off more calories.

This gets even more challenging on a stability ball.

You can also do arm circles as a form of exercise to strengthen your shoulders and upper back for better posture while sitting. Do this for long enough to feel a slight burn and notice an increased heart rate.


3. Drink Lots Of Water

Woman drinking glasses of water

Get into the habit of having a large water bottle on your desk. Ideally, you should drink the equivalent of four pints of water if you spend eight hours at your desk.

That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses [4].

And to trigger a higher calorie burn, drink 16 ounces of water in about two minutes. This will trigger water-induced thermogenesis [5].

This will help with increased fat oxidation and help you lose weight even when you’re not exercising.

4. Force Good Posture

First of all, you need a good desk chair that will support a natural posture. Here’s the thing about maintaining good upper body posture.

It’s not easy and requires engaging a lot of back and stomach muscles, and that will increase your energy expenditure [6].

It’s also the reason why so many people end up slouching at work and doing damage to their back.

If you want to take this one step further, use an exercise ball for sitting at your computer, as it will challenge your core a lot more.

5. Listen To More Jokes

One of the most surprising ways to boost your weight loss is to trigger more genuine laughter [7]. You can do this by following a few comedians on your favorite social media app or simply looking up some good jokes on your coffee breaks.

It’s also a great way to reduce work-related stress along with some extra energy expenditure.

6. Remove The Snacks

African American person crossing his arms to say no

One of the biggest obstacles to burning more calories than you take in is snacking.

You can have a calorie-conscious diet for all your main meals and then end up undoing the effort with a few snacks throughout the day.

If you have a desk drawer where you keep some chips or candy bars, then get rid of them. And make a conscious effort not to eat between meals.

7. Have A Spicy Desk Lunch

Yes, choose some spicy sauces, Indian food, or a healthy Mexican lunch to boost your capsaicin intake. Not only can this burn off some extra energy, but it can make you feel full for longer [8].

It’s also a very tasty way to feel more satisfied after eating compared to a bland sandwich.

8. Plan Your Coffee Intake

Caffeine is a very common weight loss supplement ingredient because it can boost your metabolic rate even when resting [9]. But that doesn’t mean you can drink a load of coffee with milk, cream, and sugar.

Stick to a simple black coffee, and you’ll boost your thermogenesis.

9. Eat Slowly

A woman eating

If you ever watch your co-workers eating while sitting at a desk, you’ll probably notice that most people try to get through their meals as quickly as possible.

Studies have shown that obese people tend to chew less, so make sure you take the opposite approach [10].

Take deep breaths in between each bite and then chew each mouthful at least ten times. Your body will thank you for it.

10. Cool Down Your Environment

Studies have shown that your room temperature has a direct impact on how your body processes brown fat and ultimately leads to weight loss [11]. There is also evidence to suggest that cooler temperatures reduce insulin sensitivity [12].

Colder temperatures might also help to concentrate better and decrease stress at the same time.

11. Take Some Fat Burners

And the final thing you can do to achieve caloric deficit in your diet is to take a fat-burning supplement.

These aren’t magic pills that make you slim while you guard that box of donuts. But they can counteract weight gain by triggering natural processes without having to exercise.

Check our list of best fat burners for men and fat burners for women.


Can Shaking Legs Burn Calories?

Yes, shaking legs can burn calories. But you would need to do this while sitting down and balancing your lower body to engage as many muscles as possible.

Will Sitting Too Long Cause Weight Issues?

Yes, sitting too long can cause weight issues. It can quickly happen that even a relatively normal meal plan delivers more calories than you burn, and the excess will end up as fat storage.

Are You Going To Lose Weight At Your Desk?

Try to introduce all of the above ways to burn calories while sitting at your desk. They can be fun and will make a difference in your health.

And if you want to burn a few more calories, then try taking a fat burner on a daily basis as well. These are based on natural ingredients, and we have seen some excellent results with clients who struggle to get enough movement and activity into their working days.

Check out our test results on stimulant-free fat burners we recommend to see how much of a difference they might make on your body.


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