Standing vs sitting

Get up! 👣 When you stand, you burn anywhere from 100 to 200 calories an hour. It all depends on your sex, age, height, and weight. Sitting, by comparison, only burns 60 to 130 calories an hour.

Think about how fast that adds up! You could burn anywhere from 120 to 210 more calories just by swapping 3 hours of sitting for standing.

While this may not help you lose a significant amount of weight, it can certainly help you maintain your current weight and reduce certain health risks. Standing reduces the risk of: • Stroke • Diabetes • Heart attack • Cancer • Premature death


Standing can even build muscle tone! Not only do certain muscles actively engage when moving from seating to standing, they must stay engaged to keep you upright.

You may find it helpful to start by adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes of standing time to your day and gradually working your way up from there.

How you add these minutes is up to you. A general rule of thumb is to stand for at least 1 minute after every 30 minutes of sitting. After a minute has passed, you may choose to stand longer or resume sitting until another 30 minutes are up.

Here are a few ways you can stand more at work:

  • Try a standing desk versus a sitting desk.

  • Stand up when you take a phone call.

  • Consider having a “stand-up” style meeting instead of sitting.

  • Set a timer to stand for a certain number of minutes every hour.

Standing more at home may require some changes to your routine. Start with these:

  • Talk a walk around the house every half hour or hour.

  • Stand when making a phone call, texting, or using the Internet on your smartphone.

  • Take a nightly walk before engaging in more sedentary leisure time.

  • Watch your favorite television show while standing.


Keep in mind that using a standing desk is like any other "intervention" — it can come with "side effects." For example, if you suddenly go from sitting all day to standing all day, you run the risk of developing back, leg, or foot pain; it’s better to ease into it by starting with 30 to 60 minutes a day and gradually increasing it. Setting a timer to remind you when to stand or sit (as many experts recommend) can disrupt your concentration, reduce your focus, and reduce your efficiency or creativity. You may want to experiment with different time intervals to find the one that works best for you.

It’s also true that certain tasks — especially those requiring fine motor skills — are more accurately performed while seated. So, a standing desk may not be a good answer for everyone who sits a lot at work.


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