Here’s how to burn calories at your desk

Here’s how to burn 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 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 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 four hours sitting and four hours standing. In the final scenario, the men alternated between sitting and standing much more frequently, with total time spent standing still at four 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 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 and emergency medicine physician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

“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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One Comment

  1. That is good that you are standing at your desk but when you are tied to your desk due to being a phone service and using the computer to do so standing at the desk to do the tasks needed is not always possible. Work environment does not allow the ability to stand at the desk and type on the computer at the same time. Yes, I know there are sit to stand desktops available but that is not provided by the employer and when the calls come one after another there is not time to be able to take the option of standing versus sitting. Yes I do not sit while on break other than to go to the bathroom but there isn’t a whole lot of available space to walk around either for all of us to exercise on break. Granted lunch is a different matter but there isn’t much option in the winter time because you cannot go for a walk outside very often especially when you only have 30 minutes in total and less by the time you get out of the building to begin with and then have to allow time to get back to the floor you are working on. Being that I work for a healthcare company and they are spreading this news, you would think that they would make the sit to stand desktops available for the people who do these sedentary jobs.

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.