Boost Your Metabolism At Work : 5 Things You Aren't Doing

Eat, gym, sleep. Eat, gym, sleep. Eat, gym, sleep.

 You’ve been living the fit life day in and day out but your weight won’t budge.  Should you cut down on some carbs? Maybe spend on another 30 minutes on the treadmill? This may come as a surprise, but the answer may be found in what you do BETWEEN your meals, gym, and bed.

Let’s have a look at NEAT:

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – or, the calories you spend doing non-sporting activities throughout the day.  Things like walking, moving around, and loading up groceries can all contribute to your overall calorie burn.  You may wonder how many calories can I burn from just being a little more active at work? How does over 2,600 calories per week sound?

 - Here are 5 simple ways to up that calorie burn and make sure you are making the most of your 16 hours outside of the gym:

Parking your car further away from your office

 Parking your car a little further down the street may mean taking a few extra minutes to get to work, but your body and health will thank you.  Walking at a leisurely 2 mph can increase your metabolism a significant 175% above rest.  That means if you have a 15-minute walk from your car, the average person can burn an extra 55 calories per day.

 1 Additional benefits: a 2010 study on 10 healthy young men found that when they decreased their steps per day from around 10,000 to 1,000 they experienced marked decreases in lean leg muscle mass, insulin sensitivity, and a 7% decrease in cardiovascular fitness. 2 All three increase risk markers of disease and may negatively impact your metabolism in the long term.

TIP: Try parking your car 15 minutes away from work 5 times per week to burn an extra 275 calories per week.


• Standing at your desk

  We all know that sitting at your desk isn’t doing you any favors.  Could standing really make that much of a difference? One study analyzed the behavior patterns of 10 lean and 10 obese individuals every half second for 10 days. 


 The results showed that the obese individuals remained seated for 164 minutes per day more than their lean counterparts. If the overweight individuals were to stand up to 2.5 hours each day they could increase their daily caloric burn by up to 350 calories. 3

TIP: Try standing for 2.5 hours each day at your desk.  Start with 30 minute increments and work your way up to an extra 350 calories per day!


• Maintain good posture at your desk

 Sitting up with good posture is not only something that will increase the weight of Grandma’s Christmas cards.  Studies have shown that maintaining proper posture can increase your metabolism above a reclined position. 5 That’s the straightforward answer, but good posture grants so much more.  Sitting up straight can increase testosterone, decrease cortisol (the stress hormone that can break down muscle), and can make your feel more powerful, confident, and positive. 6,7 All factors that increase your likely hood to stand up, take the stairs, or jam out to some music through the day.  Maintaining that erect posture also significantly activates your core meaning you’ll have a killer six-pack to show off after using these simple tricks. 8

 TIP: Try to maintain an upright posture throughout the day to create a positive, fat burning routine.



• Toe tapping at work

 Ever wonder why Twitchy Pete in your office seems to keep his body fat low but eats whatever he wants? Well this one may seem odd, but fidgeting at your desk can actually boost your metabolism a lot throughout the course of the work day.  

Tapping your toe or moving around can increase your metabolism over rest by around 60%.  This means that if you tap your toe for 2 hours a day, the average person can burn an extra 75 calories a day or 375 calories per work week.  1

 TIP: Listen to music while you work and tap your toe along with the beat for 2 hours per day.


• Choosing the stairs

This one may seem simple but it will make a world of difference.  

 Climbing the stairs can increase your metabolic rate by a whopping 225%! That means that walking up steps for 20 minutes per day can increase your metabolism by 46 calories. 1 Not only will it rev up your fat burning potential, it can greatly increase your cardiovascular fitness.  In a study of 15 healthy, young females, taking the stairs for a total of 11 minutes per day increased their cardiovascular fitness (VO2 max) by over 17%.  That means that taking the stairs doesn’t just burn calories, it can also significantly improve your cardio endurance and help you burn more calories in the gym too! 4

TIP: Walk the stairs for 20 minutes per day to boost your metabolism and improve your endurance


Works Cited

Levine JA. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: The Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon of Societal Weight Gain. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2006;26(4):729–736. doi:10.1161/01.atv.0000205848.83210.73.

Krogh-Madsen R, Thyfault JP, Broholm C, et al. A 2-wk reduction of ambulatory activity attenuates peripheral insulin sensitivity. Journal of Applied Physiology 2009;108(5):1034–1040. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00977.2009.

Bessesen D. Interindividual Variation in Posture Allocation: Possible Role in Human Obesity. Yearbook of Endocrinology 2006;2006:178–180. doi:10.1016/s0084-3741(08)70349-4.

Shephard R. Training Effects of Short Bouts of Stair Climbing on Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Blood Lipids, and Homocysteine in Sedentary Young Women. Yearbook of Sports Medicine 2006;2006:87–89. doi:10.1016/s0162-0908(08)70316-7.

BASAL METABOLISM : ITS DETERMINATION AND APPLICATION BASAL METABOLISM : ITS DETERMINATION AND APPLICATION . Edited by Sanborn Frank B. , Boston . Sanborn Co . 282 p. Endocrinology 1922;6(6):835–836. doi:10.1210/endo-6-6-835d.

Carney DR, Cuddy AJC, Yap AJ. Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. Psychological Science 2010;21(10):1363–1368. doi:10.1177/0956797610383437.

Briñol P, Petty RE, Wagner B. Body posture effects on self-evaluation: A self-validation approach. European Journal of Social Psychology Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 2009;39(6):1053–1064. doi:10.1002/ejsp.607.

O’Sullivan PB, Grahamslaw KM, Kendell M, Lapenskie SC, Möller NE, Richards KV. The Effect of Different Standing and Sitting Postures on Trunk Muscle Activity in a Pain-Free Population. Spine 2002;27(11):1238–1244. doi:10.1097/00007632-200206010-00019.

by Jason Dooney

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