The dangers of sitting too much have been discussed for some time now. A 2013 report evaluating the benefits of simply standing instead of sitting found that, on average, standing causes your heart rate to increase by 10 beats per minute in addition to increasing muscle activity, making blood sugar more stable, and burning around 50 extra calories an hour.
I have a desk job that is 100% computer time, and my shoulders and upper back hurt most of the time. An ergonomics expert suggested I try a stand-up workstation. Guess what – the pain is gone. Two days ago a massage therapist said my shoulders were much more relaxed than most office workers.
I was really surprised to find how many muscles we use to stand, and after about six weeks I’ve worked myself up to 6-8 hours a day on my feet. I feel stronger and am surprised how those calories add up!
Even if your job isn’t conducive to standing for some reason, why not find other times to stand, like when you’re watching TV or surfing the web?
I move more in general when I’m standing, I sometimes dance to the hold music while waiting for a conference call. I get a little stiff sometimes, so now I’m also stretching a lot more often. If you watch a two-hour movie on your feet, you’ll undoubtedly wander around and stretch a bit too.
So what about the calories burned while standing…and is it really like exercise?
A manufacturer of stand-up office tools has a calculator here. For my weight, an hour only burns about 40 calories (remember the average in the study was 50). So it seems the company’s algorithm is pretty good, as I’m not a tall woman.
I worked my way up to 33 hours this week. That’s a burn of 1,320 calories in 5 days.
For me, brisk walk burns 287 calories/hr. So from a calories perspective, standing this week was like taking a 50-minute walk every day.
Now, obviously it does NOT have the cardiac benefit of actually taking a brisk walk and really getting a sweat going. We should all still get “cardio” exercise. But it does enough to raise your heart rate by 10 bpm and it absolutely tone muscles – I can feel the difference when I run up the stairs.
Be sure to take it slow…and stretch a lot, you really ARE building muscle. Stay hydrated too.
I found a mechanism that clamps onto my desk and pneumatically slides up and down, so it’s easy to switch back and forth. An Internet search will provide a variety of options. I am here to tell you that it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
Give it a try. Next time you watch TV, do it standing up…and be sure you use good posture…stand tall and hold your abs in…you’ll protect your back, and burn even more calories building up your core!