Standing desks became ‘all the rage’ recently, and everyone wanted to get in on the trend. The idea is that you have a desk that is tall enough for you to stand while you work at your desk, instead of sit. Doing so allegedly burns more calories and will help you get in better shape.
Unfortunately, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have some unfortunate news for you: “standing only used a whopping two extra calories on average [per 15 minutes]”.
That is anything but encouraging for those who spent upwards of $1000 on a fancy-schmancy standing desk.
Essentially, their 2-extra calories/15-minute expenditure calculates out to be just an extra 8-10 calories burned for ever hour your are using your standing desk vs. your sitting desk. This difference is not significant statistically, and will more than likely have no affect on your weight.
“Most people think that standing helps you burn calories because it activates the major muscle groups in your legs”, which is true, but simply standing isn’t a big enough stimulus to use up energy and burn calories. To do that, movement is required.
To contrast calorie expenditure, the same researchers tested how many calories were burned when people were walking instead of just standing, and for just 15 minutes of walking, an average of 56 calories were burned, which is significantly more than the 2 extra-calories at the standing desk.
Standing at your desk does have some other benefits besides calorie expenditure though. First, it is great for your posture, which can help ease back pain. It can also help improve your blood sugar control as well as your circulation.
However, to make the most of these benefits as well, adding movement is key.
So, instead of dishing out some serious dough for a standing desk contraption, researchers suggest actually getting up and moving a little bit every hour. This doesn’t have to be anything involved either; it could simply mean pacing during a phone call, taking a quick lap around the building, or doing some light stretching as you walk to the break room.
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