Do Standing Desks Help You Lose Weight?

Standing desks started gaining popularity a few years ago to combat people’s sedentary lifestyles. Numerous studies have shown how bad sitting is for our health. Too much of it has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and even cancer. The invention of the standing desk appeared to be a good solution.

Many have since questioned the benefits of standing versus sitting at the office. Does it actually help you lose weight? A new study reveals that standing does indeed burn more calories—but not as much as you’d think. Over the course of six hours, a person burns just 54 calories by standing.

Researchers looked at 700 studies about the health benefits of standing desks. They included 46 studies in their review, making sure other calorie-burning behaviours were not factored in. The research was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Researcher Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told Bloomberg: “The conclusion was that indeed people who stand burn more calories than those who sit. But at the same time, we found the number of calories was not as high as some people who were in favor of the standing desk were claiming.”

The good news? After four years, a person using a standing desk could lose about 22 pounds. And men burned twice as many calories per minute as women, likely due to their higher muscle mass. So, if you’re patient about weight loss, it may be worthwhile.

While the benefits of standing desks seem minimal, Lopez-Jimenez says they’re better than sitting because people who use them tend to move more throughout the day. Too much sitting is also associated with back problems. He advises people with desk jobs stand periodically throughout the day in 30-minute increments.

If you are interested in using a standing desk, you can buy one for several hundred dollars or make one for under $40. Just purchase a portable laptop table from Amazon, which is height and angle adjustable. Place it on top of your regular desk, and voila!

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