Take a Stand at Work to Burn Some Extra Calories and Improve Your Health

Man standing at desk
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Here at Men’s Fitness, we’re always looking to share new ways to lose weight and achieve greater overall health.

This latest find won’t torch fat like a heart-pumping HIIT workout, but it will help you ditch a few extra calories over time. All you need to do is get off your ass—literally—while at work. That’s right, but exactly how many more calories do you burn when you stand instead of sit down, and can this help you lose weight?

According to a new study that analyzed data from nearly 50 previous studies on the topic of calories burned while sitting vs. standing, findings show a definitive benefit to working on your feet while on the job. Every minute standing, an extra 0.15 calories are burned on average compared with those who park it in a chair.

The numbers may seem insignificant, but over time they add up. For example, a person who weighs 140lbs would burn an extra 54 calories daily by simply standing six hours during the work day, said the researchers. A nice way to ditch a few hundred extra calories each week, but not really enough to help people lose weight, said the study’s lead author Dr. Farzane Saeidifard, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. However, Saeidifard pointed out that while standing has not been found to have an impact on weight loss, it could help prevent weight gain.

“Standing is better than sitting, but you need more activity for weight loss and for overall health,” Saeidifard said. On a calorie-burning scale of 0 to 100, where sitting is 0 and activities like swimming and running are 100, standing would be about a 5 to 10, Saeidifard said. Again, not numbers that will inspire the masses to get on their feet, but throw in the findings that sitting too long is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, and suddenly that chair seems a bit less comfortable.

While many studies support the health benefits of standing during the day, Saeidifard stressed the importance of also incorporating more daily physical activity to achieve any significant weight loss and improve overall health. According to national guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week is recommended.

It all starts with getting on your feet as much as possible. What you choose to do once you’re on them is up to you.

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