Are you sitting down? New research says you shouldn’t be
Substituting time spent sitting for standing could help people lose 2.5kg in one year
Choosing to stand, rather than sit, can help people burn calories and possibly help them to lose weight, new research has found.
Substituting time spent sitting for standing for six hours a day could help people lose 2.5kg (5.5lb) over the course of a year, according to the report.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found that standing burned 0.15 kcal per minute more than sitting.
Data was examined from 1,184 people taking part in 46 previous studies. Participants were, on average, 33-years-old with an average weight of 65kg (10st 3lb).
The US and Spanish researchers found that the difference in energy expenditure between sitting and standing was 0.15 kcal per minute. The effects were more pronounced in men than women.
Over the course of six hours this could translate to 54 calories. And over a year this may translate to a 2.5kg weight loss, they said.
“Considering burning 54 more calories by six hours of standing instead of sitting, the long-term effect on weight loss is not trivial, with a possible 10kg (1st 8lb) reduction in body fat over four years in a 65kg person,” the authors wrote.
Previous work has described how a different number and volume of muscles are involved in sitting compared to standing. During standing, more muscles are tensed and stretched to fight gravity and bear weight.
But they stressed that whether the additional expended energy would translate into long-term weight loss was yet to be proved, as standing for prolonged periods may lead to an increase in calorie intake as a result of more muscle activity.
Data was also needed on the long-term health implications of standing for extended periods, they added.
Senior author Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chief of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, said: “Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.
“Our results might be an underestimate because when people stand they tend to make spontaneous movements like shifting weight or swaying from one foot to another, taking small steps forward and back. People may even be more likely to walk to the filing cabinet or trash bin.
“It’s important to avoid sitting for hours at a time. Standing is a very good first step, no pun intended, to avoid this mindset of sitting interminably without moving. Who knows, it may also prompt some people to do a little more and take up some mild physical activity, which would be even more beneficial.”