The Benefits of Standing at Work

If you work in an office and spend the most of your time bent over a desk, clicking away at a computer, you must take measures – literally – to reduce your sedentary habits. Because our bodies are designed to move, sitting for long periods of time is harmful for our health.

Even physically active people may spend the most of their day in a chair, as Americans sit for up to seven hours every day.

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Too much sitting has been linked to the present obesity epidemic, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and has been linked to increasing incapacity as we age.

Is Standing at Work Beneficial?

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic determined in a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that standing for six hours a day instead of sitting is healthier, prevents weight gain, and aids weight loss.

The researchers wanted to know if standing burns more calories than sitting. The researchers looked at data from 46 previous studies with a total of 1,184 participants. In those trials, the average participant was 33 years old, weighed 143.3 pounds, and was 60% male. These investigations ensured that just sitting vs. standing was measured, and that no additional calorie-burning behavior was included.

Standing consumes 20% more energy than sitting and burns 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting, according to the experts. A 143-pound person would burn an additional 54 calories per day if they stood instead of sitting for six hours each day. While 54 calories per day isn’t much – roughly the same as an orange – this modest difference could result in a 5.5-pound weight loss in a year and 22 pounds over four years.

It’s possible that the difference in calories burnt between standing and sitting is considerably bigger than the study showed. Participants in the study were asked to stand still, despite the fact that people move around while standing. People who work at standing desks move more during the day, shifting their weight from one foot to the other, leaning, twisting, and walking to the filing cabinet or trash can, according to research.

While more than a dozen studies imply that our bodies were not built to sit for six or seven hours every day, not everyone can stand all day. Standing burns more calories because our hearts have to work harder to pump blood upward, but it also puts more strain on our veins, backs, and joints, particularly if we’re overweight. Sedentary behavior can also increase our risk of developing heart disease. The authors concluded that substituting sitting for standing could be another behavioural adjustment that could help people avoid long-term weight gain.

How to get more movement into your day

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While you certainly won’t be able to totally avoid sitting at your desk (or at least for portions of your workday), there are some things you can do to be an “active sitter.”

Invest in a standing desk if you can, or locate duties that allow you to stand, such as conversing on the phone or reading hard copy reports. Place your file cabinet on the opposite side of the room, so you’ll have to cross the room to get to it. If you have a standing desk, switch from sitting to standing every hour. For a desk job, movement is your best defense!

Whether you prefer to sit or stand, it is critical to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine – stand while talking on the phone, stretch while your lunch heats up in the microwave, take a 10-minute walk every hour, take the stairs rather than the elevator, park your car in the far reaches of the parking lot, or walk or bike to work. Most academics agree that the best approach to keep healthy is to sit, stand, and move in moderation throughout the day.


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