We’ve all heard the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle (and if you haven’t, they include obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death), but most of us still spend way too much time sitting down—and have the not-so-flat belly to prove it. In fact, Physical Activity Council report showed that the percent of Americans who participated in high-calorie-burning activities reached an all-time low (with only 29.7 percent participating) in 2017.
1. Turn Down The Heat
According to a study in Diabetes, which found that colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat. Participants who slept a month at 66 degrees almost doubled their volumes of brown fat and improved insulin sensitivity, whereas a subsequent month at 81 degrees undid these metabolic enhancements and even decreased brown fat stores.
2. Replace Your Chair
If you’re looking to burn calories while sitting, and tone up in the process, invest in a stability ball. Swapping out your desk chair for a stability ball will help you strengthen your core, back, and legs and burn more calories at the same time.
3. Nab A Caffeine Booster
We know it’s tempting to guzzle down a diet soda to get over that mid-afternoon slump—but don’t do it! A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that adults who drank diet soda experienced a whopping 70 percent increase in weight circumference compared to non-soda drinkers. Instead, grab a low-cal cup of black coffee, or better yet, some green tea.
4. Squeeze In Tiny Tone-Ups
Just because you’re sitting down doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary. Light stretches throughout the day can relax muscles while burning a few extra calories. Try crossing your arm across your body and pulling it closer with your other arm, and switch. Reach up toward the sky and lean over on both sides. You can also tone up your leg muscles while sitting. Squeeze a ball between your thighs, knees, or calves.
5. Jam Out
Grab your headphones and listen to some tunes. Numerous studies have shown that listening to relaxing music can decrease the production of cortisol, a hormone responsible for stress, carbohydrate cravings, and fat-storage. Can’t listen to music while you work? No problem; just throw on some ambient soft, slow jazz during your break.
6. Sit Up Straight
You know your mind can affect your body, but did you know your body also can affect your mind? You might not feel confident, but if you partake in certain “power poses” like sitting up straight in your chair, psychologists like Harvard professor, Amy Cuddy, believe you can actually boost your mood, which may decrease levels of the stress-inducing and fat-storing hormone, cortisol.
7. Dress Down
A simple choice in the morning can have profound results throughout the day. Choose to wear jeans and even though you’ll be sitting at your desk, you’ll be more likely to walk throughout the day. University of Wisconsin researchers found that people who wore casual clothing to work burned 25 more calories than they did when they wore more formal attire.