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Home arrow Fitness arrow Training arrow 10 Ways How to Burn Calories While Sitting

10 Ways How to Burn Calories While Sitting

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 9, 2023
9 min read 1779 Views 0 Comments
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Do you ever feel like sitting all day at work or on the couch is making you gain weight? We’ve got some great tips for burning calories while sitting.

how to burn calories while sitting

The worst thing you could do to your body is probably to sit all day. Blood moves more slowly, and your muscles burn less fat.

Even if you schedule regular exercise, sitting hunched over a computer the rest of the day might nullify many of the advantages. A study indicates that sitting for very long periods can be harmful to your body. It may lead to obesity, high body sugar, and cholesterol.

You may still lose weight while you sit by adopting healthy behaviors that speed up your metabolism, increase calorie burn, and prevent overeating.

What Physical Effects Does a Sedentary Lifestyle Have on You?

People are designed to stand straight. That makes your circulatory system and heart more efficient. When you are upright, your bowels run more smoothly. Bowel function issues are a common complaint among immobile hospital patients.

On the other side, when you exercise, your total energy levels and stamina increase, and your bones continue to be strong. The more you exercise, the more calories you burn.

Leg muscles

Long durations of sitting can cause the leg muscles to weaken. These strong muscles aid in your walking stability. You are more prone to suffer injuries from falls and strains while you exercise if these muscles are weak.

Weight gain

Your body will absorb the carbs and fats you consume more efficiently if you exercise. You keep those fats and carbohydrates as fat in your body if you spend a lot of time sitting down since digestion is less effective.

Having health issues like metabolic syndrome is still a possibility even if you work out but spend a lot of time sitting down. To counteract the risks of prolonged sitting, you should engage in 60–75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day. It also helps burn calories, and you’ll eventually see weight loss.

Varicose veins

Sitting for extended periods might result in ‘spider veins’ or varicose veins. This is because sitting causes your legs’ blood to pool.

Most of the time, varicose veins are not harmful. Rarely, they may result in blood clots, which can be quite problematic.

Back and hips

Your hips and back won’t support you as effectively if you sit for extended periods, just like your legs won’t. Your hip muscles shorten when you’re sitting, which may create issues with your hip joints.

Long hours of sitting can also harm your back, particularly if you frequently adopt bad posture or don’t utilize a workstation or an office chair that is ergonomically constructed.

Additionally, bad posture can result in compression of your spine’s discs, which can hasten their early deterioration and be excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Is It Possible to Lose Weight While Sitting?

No matter what you’re doing, even sleeping in bed or running a marathon, the human body burns calories. We burn calories even when we aren’t moving at all since our bodies consume energy to carry out vital functions like breathing and blood flow that are required for daily survival.

Your basal metabolic rate, also known as your metabolism, which is the amount of energy consumed by your body while at rest, will determine how many calories you generally burn every hour. Your basal metabolic rate is increased by exercising or by increasing your muscle mass.

Even when sitting or standing motionless, a person with a “rapid” metabolism will expend more calories than the average person.

Does Sitting Burn Belly Fat?

If you work at a desk, you may be aware of the repercussions of inactivity, particularly how sitting all day affects the size of your belly.

The most harmful type of fat is belly fat because it can surround internal organs when it forms in the abdominal area. People who have this sort of fat are more likely to have sudden mortality, heart disease, diabetes, liver issues, some types of cancer, and other health issues.

While your work may limit some of your exercises, sitting alone will not burn belly fat, you should make efforts to lose weight, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising more. 

If your work limits you from being active throughout the day, a quick 20-minute run would be beneficial.

Start by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, green tea, and low-calorie food into your diet to help you lose weight.

Try to be in a calorie deficit. A daily calorie deficit of 500 calories is sufficient for the average person to encourage weight loss. You can deduct 500 calories by eating fewer calories or by burning more calories.

How Many Calories Does Your Body Burn While Sitting?

The quantity of calories expended varies depending on things like how long you’ve been sitting and what you were doing while doing it. You burn more calories while you are sitting more. It can increase calorie burn, particularly if you have a desk job.

According to a study, an average person weighing 170 pounds will burn approximately 134 calories sitting.

10 Exercises That Will Help You Burn Calories While Sitting

#1 Sitting jumping jacks

Jumping jacks while seated is an effective warm-up activity and helps in calorie burn.

Your toes should be touching the ground when you sit up straight in your chair with your knees bowed and positioned together. Open your arms with your hands facing ahead. Bend your elbows.

Quickly spread your legs out to the side while extending your arms above in a motion similar to a jumping jack; make careful to flex your feet and land on your heels. Repeat 11 times, then bring your arms and legs back to the beginning position.

Seated jumping jacks should be done rapidly and vigorously for optimal effects.

#2 Stretch while seated

Seated toe stretch helps you lose lower back fat. It helps in increasing flexibility and mobility.

Lean forward while sitting on the edge of your chair to conduct seated toe stretches. Remain sitting and cautiously reach toward your toes. Throughout this exercise, make sure to keep your sitting position and avoid leaning too far forward. Stretching also helps you burn some extra calories.

#3 Seated running

You may burn more calories by running in a chair to reduce weight.

Sit upright with your knees bent to practice chair running. Place your left foot firmly on the ground and extend your right leg straight out in front of you.

Next, swiftly extend your left leg and bend your right leg in a motion akin to sprinting. Additionally, you can pump your left and right arms back and forth in a way comparable to jogging to increase your calorie burn.

You’ll lose more calories if you perform more repetitions.

#4 Swim in a dry pool

30 to 50 times, and kick them with a fluttering motion. Your endurance will go up, and your core and leg muscles will get stronger as a result. 

You may also try flutter-kicking your arms, either alone or in combination with your legs. Do this in front of your body or above your head.

#5 Pull in your glutes

Tense up your back muscles and bottom muscles as you sit up straight. Squeeze for 30 seconds continuously, then let go for 30 seconds. If you can, try to do as many reps as you can in one hour. Your glutes will develop and look good as a result.

#6 Do crunches while seated

Straighten your spine, bend your knees, and keep your feet together. Engage your core muscles while holding your hands behind your head.

Just brush the back of your chair by gently reversing your posture. Place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee as you lean forward at the hips. After 20 alternate reps, return to the starting position.

#7 Toe and heel raise to build your leg muscle

Engage your calf muscles and sit up straight so that your heels lift and you are on your toes. Release your heels back to the ground, then carry out 30 reps of this exercise.

For 30 repetitions, you may alternatively perform the exercise backward by standing on your toes rather than your heels. These workouts concentrate on and strengthen the lower leg and knee muscles.

Raise your toes and heels while putting a heavy book on your knees to add resistance.

#8 Knee lift

The abdominal muscles are also worked out during this activity. You may burn belly fat and tone your stomach muscles by doing knee raises.

Without placing your body on the backrest, sit up straight on the chair.

While maintaining your upper body straight, place your palms on each side of your body and slowly bring your knees toward your torso.

#9 Lateral bends

Without placing your body on the backrest, sit up straight on the chair. Put your feet together closely. As you lift your right hand sideways and above your head, keep your left arm close to your left leg.

Move your left hand in the same direction as your body while bending it to the left.

Do three sets by slowly lowering your legs and repeating lateral bends 10 to 15 times.

#10 Sit-down bicep curl

Sit on the chair’s edge. Your hands should be facing front while you hold two dumbbells at your sides. Lift the dumbbells slowly toward your shoulders, just beyond your chest. Squeeze your biceps muscles for a brief moment at the movement’s peak. For 12 repetitions, gradually return to the starting position.

4 Tips to Be Active at Work

#1 Use a standing desk

You can stand at your desk and work if you have a standing desk. Standing burns more calories than sitting.

Your posture and circulation will improve, which will lessen the negative consequences of prolonged sitting. Although it could take some time to prepare for a full day of standing, even a few hours every day will be beneficial.

To adapt it to your height, just make sure it is adjustable.

#2 Use a stability ball 

If you work while sitting on an exercise ball, you may draw some attention from your coworkers, but you’ll be working out without even realizing it. Your core will be worked out while sitting on an exercise ball, which will help you keep a good posture.

#3 Use the stairs

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You’ll remain engaged at work as a result. Climbing stairs will also help you build stronger muscles and aid in weight loss. Not only will you burn calories, but it may also improve your mood.

#4 Set walking reminders

Put a reminder in your calendar to remind you to take a break, then get up and walk around the building or up and down the stairs for a few minutes. You just need to go for a little period; just be sure to stop every few hours for a 5–10-minute rest.

This will help you stay active throughout the day and burn more calories.

It will not only get you moving, but it will also assist you in clearing your thoughts so you can return to work feeling a little more rested. Invite a companion along so you may mix exercise with social interaction, which can improve your wellness even more.

A Word From Our Coach

You become mentally and physically fatigued from working a desk job for most of the day. You wouldn’t think that doing a desk job would have such a negative effect on your health, but prolonged sitting is pretty bad for you.

Maintain a good posture while you are sitting. It is more beneficial to often switch between sitting and standing to increase calorie burn.

As an alternative, you may use an exercise ball to enhance the difficulty and develop your strength while exerting more effort to keep your posture.

One of the primary causes of persistent snacking and overeating is the error of misunderstanding thirst for hunger, which may be avoided by drinking water. Drinking an adequate amount of water also helps you consume fewer calories.

Additionally, opt for green tea instead of coffee. Green tea will help you consume fewer calories and promote fat oxidation in adults who maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.


If you are like most people, chances are you spend a significant amount of your day at a desk. This makes it easy to let your exercise regimen slide and gives you one less reason to want to go to the gym after work.

If you have trouble staying active throughout the day, try performing these 10 exercises for at least 10 minutes every day and burn some extra calories.

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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