In recent years, the detriment to health that comes with sitting for multiple hours per day has become more widely known. This news has led to the increased popularity of standing desks and sit-stand desks. These desks are beneficial for people seeking to improve their health by increasing the amount of time that they spend on their feet. The good news is that standing at a desk is indeed better for a person's health when compared to sitting.
The Benefits of Standing
A study from the University of Iowa found that workers who used a sit-stand desk stood for an average of an hour more each day compared to their seated coworkers. They also burned about 87 more calories per day than workers who sat for most of their workdays. While this may not seem like a lot, it is still enough for researchers to conclude that standing is clearly healthier than sitting.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that an individual might be able to burn as much as 120 calories more at a standing or sit-stand desk when compared to workers who sit for most of the time. As a result, a standing desk can help workers to burn as much as 30,000 extra calories per year.
Standing helps to get the lower half of the body to burn calories. When an individual sits, they are basically keeping their lower body from burning calories.
Standing instead of sitting is important in light of the fact that the number of sedentary jobs has increased by 83 percent since 1960, according to Men's Fitness. Sedentary jobs now account for as much as 43 percent of all jobs in the US.
Standing Desks Vs. Marathons
According to Active.com, marathon runners burn 2,600 calories per race. This means that the individual working at a standing desk burns roughly the same number as a marathon runner who runs a race roughly every 21 days. They also burn the equivalent number of calories as they would if they were to run approximately 11 marathons every year. Of course, these numbers will vary depending on the amount of vacation time and the number of sick days a worker takes; however, they should still provide a rough idea of the weight loss benefits to be gained from working while standing up.
Why Standing Burns More Calories
The fact that standing instead of sitting involves more work should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the reason for the extra calories burned might be. According to an article in Runner's World, the major muscle groups in the legs do not account for most of the calories being burned. Instead, the energy consumption is due mostly to other movements that the person makes. Someone who fidgets and moves around while on their feet burn more calories than someone who stands still.
Stand Up For More Than Just Weight Loss
The potential for weight loss is just one of the many benefits that come from standing rather than sitting. Its benefits have to do with all the ways that sitting can damage the body. Examples include the fact that sitting can cause an individual to impinge their rotator cuff. It is bad for other joints in the body as well, including the knees. Standing can have benefits that include improving blood sugar management, which means that it may be beneficial for managing or preventing diabetes. Working in a standing position can also improve a worker's focus and energy level.
It is suggested that along with standing at their desk, workers should walk back and forth for a few minutes every hour. If their employer permits it, they should also consider doing jumping jacks in the office or walking laps around the building a few times per day.