Burn More Calories At Work

No time to exercise? Follow fitness expert and wellness consultant Bryan Hoare’s advice on how to de-stress and burn more calories in the office.
Working out at work. Does it sound strange? Yes – until you do it! Take a chance and do a little exercise to bring some life into the office and burn more calories. These tips will also help reduce your stress levels and reduce the effects of mouse arm or laptop neck by loosening limbs and joints.


Think movement and not simply about planned pre-defined exercise. Studies have shown that people who are naturally fidgety and have what is known as a “high activity temperament” use more calories; whether it is hair twirling, leg shaking, finger-drumming or toe-tapping. So start wiggling in your chair and find some activities that you can do while you work. If you are not tied to a desk and sitting in a chair then that’s even better; retailers and hospitality people, you know how to keep moving – get up and move…

Do stuff when you do stuff

Find innovative ways of adding movement into your daily work activities: get up more often when you feel like sitting back to rest or think – even go for a short walk. Stomp on the spot whilst at the photocopier or water dispenser. Yes it may look like you need to pee, but it will burn those extra few calories that when added-up, day-after-day week-after-week, will take your extra calorie output into the thousands each year. Make the movement enjoyable and bring some fun into your moves…

Get off your butt

Make use of opportunities to stand rather than sit and walk instead of standing. Have meetings standing-up or on the move; stand up when you are on the phone. Look for options to take a walk to a colleague’s desk or office instead of using SMS, e-mail or a phone call. Business experts even advocate these ideas for improved creativity and better communication. Do your MBWA – management by walking around!

Extreme workaholic

Taking physical activity at work to the next level, consider having a work station that is adjustable so that you can stand and work from time-to-time. Even more specialization in train-and-work – where you position your computer screen on a stand or work surface above a treadmill or stationary bicycle; might be a challenge for all but those who have complete control over their workspace, or of course if you have your own business!

Travellers checks

If you travel for business, then be sure to stay in hotels that have fitness facilities – including a pool.

Some airports even have gyms (Changi Airport in Singapore for one!), other have changing facilities so you can freshen-up after a Powerwalk along the vast international corridors. When waiting for a plane, train, automobile or bus – get walking, be more active; move a little bit!

Count your commute

One of the best ways to bring planned exercise into your daily life is to use an active way to get or from work – or both. Try cycling, walking even rollerblading! If there are no shower and changing facilities at the office, take the bus/train/tram in and walk home in a pair of comfortable training shoes. Again be creative and think ahead as to how you can bring more movement into your working day.

Hidden talent

You can tighten and tone your lower abdominals and butt without anyone noticing it by squeezing your glutes tight, or pulling your navel into your spine and lifting flattening your back against your chair by rolling your hips forward and upward. Hold each squeeze or lift for 15 seconds and repeat 12 times rest for a minute and then do each set of 12 reps, twice more.

Fat Loss Snippets:

It takes a deficit of approximately 3850 calories in addition to what you are already doing to lose a half a kilo of fat; remember that it all adds up.
Some trainers recommend sitting on a Fit-ball/ Swiss-ball/ Exercise Ball at work. This does in fact activate the core muscles; however doing it all day may be too challenging for core and using it in conjunction with an ergonomically designed chair will offer similar benefits without opening you up to injury.

Don’t let work affect your sleep – studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010 showed that when people who lost weight were getting enough sleep (8.5 hours as compared to not enough sleep at 5.5 hours) they lost more of the weight as fat; without enough sleep the weight loss came from muscle – not good!

To keep your blood sugar constant and your brain in balance, have a small handful (6-8 pieces) of almonds and an apple handy to stave off starvation and stop you reaching for sweets or chocolate.
A University of Wisconsin study suggests wearing casual comfortable clothes, because it encourages physical activity. In a study on Jeans Day, participants used up 25 more calories a day than on those days in which they wore normal business attire.

How to activate it!

1. Put a daily reminder into your organiser two times a day, to remind you to get active even if just for 5-10 minutes each time. In one year that is more than 48 hours of extra exercise/physical activity/exercise at work and tens of thousands of calories used up.

2. Rather than sitting down for a coffee break head for a power break; a period of focussed physical activity. Like smokers take their ten minute puff breaks – try an active exercise break.

3. Instead of going for a sit-down restaurant or cafeteria lunch, head out into a nearby park – definitely don’t eat at your desk! Do everything to be active – take some time to eat your lunch and do it away from your workstation.

4. Get other people focussed on fitness and you’ll have energetic friends and colleagues to join you – or lead you!
a. Devise a weight-loss competition with your work colleagues – make the prize something super-special!
b. Use sports events to inspire yourself and the people around you – from the swimming world championships, to the Olympics or even the upcoming rugby world cup

In addition

Take additional steps wherever you go – in order to burn calories you need to take as many steps as possible each day. Recommendations from a variety of health organizations suggest that you should aim for 10,000 steps a day. Clip on a pedometer and see what you do now and how you can increase it… Even an extra 500 steps a day burns an additional 25 extra calories; which in a year is a whopping 9000 calories and more. That is more than a kilo of fat burned away!

And finally

Studies have proven that you increase the amount of muscle mass in your body through resistance exercise – such as high intensity anaerobic exercise or lifting weights, you will increase your metabolic rate. This means that you would burn more calories doing nothing active at all, than when you had lower amounts of muscle; so perhaps then you can smugly sit at your desk – though you’d probably not want to for too long!


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