Think about your last day at school. How much of your day was spent sitting?
You were most likely sitting during your commute to school, then sitting during through most if not all of your classes, then sitting some more during breaks - and what do you do when you get home to study? Some more sitting!
Can all of this sitting be a problem? Yes! According to several studies, sitting actually slows down your metabolism and makes it easier for a person to gain weight. Simply put, you need to get your body moving more throughout the day and in order to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much extra movement to boost a sluggish metabolism. In this article I’ll show you 5 ways you can boost your metabolism and burn more calories at school.
1. Fidget More in Class
Extra calories burned: 300-350 Calories
Hard to believe, but fidgeting burns a great deal of calories! Several studies have shown that the habit of extra little movements is actually a common characteristic of lean people. People who are obese not only lack regular exercise but also do significantly less moving as a whole compared to leaner individuals.
On average, fidgeting can burn between 300-350 extra calories per day! Although this number varies widely depending how often and how intensely one does it, this is a significant amount of calories burned. To put it in perspective, if someone had 300 extra calories burned fidgeting per day then that would amount to a total of 109,500 extra calories burned in one year. Provided that the person didn’t consume extra calories to even out the deficit, that would lead to a whole 31.2 pounds lost just from fidgeting!
Here are some examples of ways you can burn more calories through fidgeting:
- Pace whenever possible
- Stand instead of sitting
- Force yourself up and out of your chair during class to get water or go to the bathroom (and take the long way there)
- Wiggle your leg, or tap a foot. If you’re sitting, keep at least one limb moving as often as possible.
- Drum your fingers, shrug your shoulders, clinch your butt or even roll your eyes!
2. Perform HIIT Before School
Extra calories burned: 300-400
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best, if not the best, types of training for fat loss. If you don’t know what HIIT is, it basically involves you performing an exercise at maximum intensity for a short period of time, resting (active rest) and then repeating this work/rest cycle for a certain amount of time. For example, you could do sprints for 20 seconds with a 40 second walk in between and repeat this for a total time of 10 minutes.
Now one the great benefits of HIIT is called the “afterburn effect” or EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption). What this basically means is that after your morning HIIT workout before school, you will still be burning calories all throughout your day sitting in class from this workout! So you not only burn heaps of calories during the workout, but you burn even more up to 48 hours after your workout as your body recovers.
For example, a study of ten men who performed a vigorous HIIT workout on a stationary bike showed that the participants managed to burn 420 calories during their workout but also burned an additional 190 calories in the 14 hours after their workout! Provided that the afterburn effect lasts for 48 hours, you’re looking at around 300-400 calories burned after exercising!
Here are some great HIIT workouts you can use to get yourself started.
3. Drink Caffeinated Green Tea
Extra calories burned: 60-100
You may have already known this, but many studies have shown that green tea can increase fat burning and help you lose weight. The secret behind this lies not just in the caffeine but also within the massive range of antioxidants found in green tea. Some studies have concluded that green tea had heat-producing and calorie-burning properties beyond what can be explained by caffeine.
Simply put, green tea boosts your metabolism, encourages fat mobilization (more fat loss during exercise), and also suppresses your appetite to stop your from eating too many calories! In most studies, the metabolic boost provided by green tea is about a 3-4% increase with some studies showing an increase as high as 8%. This means for an average person who burns 2000 calories per day, 3-4% means they are burning an additional 60-80 calories a day simply from drinking green tea!
The University of Maryland Medical Centre recommends drinking 2-3 cups of green tea daily to get a sufficient dose of its active ingredients. Bring one cup to school in the morning, have another at lunch and another one at the end of your school day and you’ve already burned 60-100 calories more!
4. Exercise While Studying
Extra calories burned: ~200
Kill two birds with one stone and burn more calories while exercising your brain! Here are a few exercises you can perform while studying:
Chair squat: This works all of your major muscle groups in your lower body as well as your core. Stand in front of your desk with your feet flat on the floor, then while keeping your back straight as possible keep your weight in your heels and squat down until your bottom just touches the seat of your chair. Hold for 5 seconds then repeat 10-20 times.
Glute Squeeze: Simply squeeze your glutes and hold for 10 seconds while sitting or standing. Repeat 10-20 times.
Front plank: You’ll have to get down on the ground for this one. Lie on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders and legs straight and feet together. Raise your body upward by straightening your body in a straight line and hold this position for as long as you can. Repeat 5 times.
There are several other exercises you can perform while studying but use these to start. The extra calories you burn depends on the type of exercise you do and the duration. But to put it in perspective, 15 minutes of the chair squat will have you burn around 200 calories (also depends on your weight).
5. Park Further Away
Extra calories burned: 40-50 calories.
It’s simple - walking more throughout the day will have you burn more calories! One of the ways you can force yourself to do this is by parking a little further away than usual or getting of the bus one stop early before class. This will have you walking a little more than usual before and after school.
The extra calories burned varies depending on how fast you walk, how far you walk and how much you weigh. But let’s say you walk a total of 10 minutes more than usual at a pace of 3mph and weigh about 160 pounds (don’t forget the weight of your backpack). Simply parking further away or getting off the bus early will have you burn 40-50 more calories than usual!
There you have it! Incorporate these 5 little points and you’ll burn up to a whopping 1000 extra calories per day!
Keep in mind that a regular exercise routine and proper diet is essential to achieving your fitness goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re having trouble staying fit as a student then you can use this Complete Guide to Staying Fit as a Student for some more information.
About the author: Jeremy Ethier
My name is Jeremy Ethier. I'm a certified personal trainer and Kinesiology student. I've played sports all my life and always had a passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. When I began University I was shocked by the lifestyle most students were living. They relied on junk food at school, barely ever exercised and developed a hunched posture from all lectures and studying. I started studentsfitness.com to show how students, and all busy individuals, how they can stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle despite their busy schedules!