How to burn more calories at your desk

How to burn more calories at your desk

A sedentary lifestyle has long been associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and other health issues. With that in mind, many in today’s workforce are trying to incorporate more standing into their work days.

But a new study out of the University of Glasgow in the UK shows that it might not just be total time spent standing, but the number of times that you stand up that can help you burn the most calories.

As part of the small study, a group of overweight men participated in three eight-hour sessions. During one session, they sat the entire time except for restroom breaks. Another session involved standing for 15-minute intervals such that at the end of the day, they had spent 4 hours sitting and 4 hours standing. In the final scenario, the men alternated between sitting and standing much more frequently, with total time spent standing still at 4 hours.

The energy expended in the second, or standing, scenario was 10.7 percent higher than sitting continuously. In the third scenario, repeated standing and sitting, 20.4 percent more energy (calories) were burned.

Researchers concluded that the higher metabolic rate in the third scenario was likely due to the increased use of muscles for changing positions.

Whether you decide to increase the number of times you get up and down from your chair or to begin standing more at your desk, it may be important for your future health to cut down on sitting.

“Some studies say that sitting is the new smoking when it comes to cardiovascular health,” says Dr. James Nevin, vice-president of medical management at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. and emergency medicine physician.

“I started standing [at my desk] due to issues with my neck,” says Dr. Nevin. “I’m pleased to report that appears to be better, and I feel more grounded and focused. I have recently added a Wurf Board (an anti-fatigue standing desk mat) to stand on that increases activity when standing, and I believe it burns more calories, as well.”

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  1. It would be very advantageous for us to have an option for standing desks at SRCO. At the least the option for standing work stations for those that want to get up during the day. As Dr. Nevin states SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING.

  2. I agree we should be given the option of a dyanmic desk or sitting arrangement that allows us to sit or stand while continuing to work. We are in a very busy call center and for at least 7 hours a day, we are sitting on the phone.

About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.