Standing doesn't make you burn a lot more calories, but it still beats sitting: Study

Standing doesn't make you burn a lot more calories, but it still beats sitting: Study

Standing desk
(Photo: Pixabay/rawpixel)

SINGAPORE: If standing is believed to be healthier than sitting, just how many more calories can the body burn when you are standing and how does that translate into weight loss?

To find out just that, lead author Farzane Saeidifard, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, analysed nearly 50 previous studies on the subject, and included more than 1,100 people.

The results: Men burned an extra 0.2 calories per minute while standing compared to sitting - which is twice the amount women burned when they stood instead of sitting, according to new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting on Nov 13.

This is because men typically have more muscle mass and burn more calories per minute.

The findings mean that for a person who weighs about 65kg, substituting sitting with standing for six hours a day would burn an extra 54 calories per day, the researchers said.

Still, it beats sitting, said Dr Saeidifard.

On a scale of zero to 100, where sitting is zero and running is 100, standing would be a five or 10, he said. While that is not enough to help people lose weight, he said it could help prevent weight gain.

In a separate study, Dr Saeidifard and colleagues looked at the effects of substituting sitting with standing on heart-disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high BMI. Seven studies involving 830 people were reviewed.

Over the course of four months, the researchers found that those who were asked to stand for 1 hour and 15 minutes more than those who didn't showed slightly greater reduction in blood glucose levels and 0.3kg less body fat.

Overall, the main takeaway of this research is "sit less", said Dr Saeidifard.

"You can substitute sitting with at least standing and preferably with other activities like walking," she said.

The rule of thumb when it comes to getting active: Engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. 

Source: CNA/bk