Feb. 23, 2018—Changing your desk can change your health. That's the news from a recent
study comparing sitting and standing. Researchers found that standing
instead of sitting for six hours a day could result in a 5.5-pound weight
loss in just one year.
The trouble with sitting
Sitting has been called "the new smoking." A sedentary lifestyle
is bad for our health. Lack of physical activity can contribute to obesity,
cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And studies have shown that in the
U.S., adults sit more than 7 hours a day.
A new study found that standing burned 0.15 more calories a minute than
sitting. By standing for six hours a day instead of sitting, a 143-pound
adult would burn 54 extra calories. That might not sound like much. But
over a year, it could mean a 5.5-pound weight loss. Over four years, that
could mean 22 pounds lost.
It might be worth considering a standing desk. Keep in mind that standing
might even use more energy than the study found on average. Folks in the
study stood still, but in reality, people move while standing. Researchers
also noted that the calorie difference between sitting and standing is
about twice as high for men as it is for women. This makes sense, as the
amount of calories burned are proportional to the muscle mass being used
as the person stands.
Learn more in the
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Even if a standing desk isn't right for you, being more active is a
healthy goal. Researchers think that sitting too much makes it harder
for our bodies to move fat out of the blood and into the body. That can
increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, a lot of sitting can
impair how our good cholesterol functions and reduce insulin sensitivity.
Even if you have a sedentary job, short breaks and smart activities can
make a difference. Try these action plans:
- Walk to a coworker's desk instead of emailing or calling.
- Take the stairs whenever you can.
- Schedule short breaks into your electronic calendar. Use these opportunities
to do squats, lunges, upper-body stretches or shoulder rolls.
- Take the long route to meetings, the breakroom or the restroom.
- Stand up whenever you're on the phone or when you take a drink.
Even small movements add up. Check out our
Calories Burned Calculator to see how much energy you use in a variety of activities.