A study investigated the true health benefits of standing desks and what they found is surprising…

Numerous studies have pointed to sitting too much as being a health concern. In fact, sitting has even been called the new smoking.

This has sparked a workplace revolution – standing desks. They are said to be a healthier alternative to sitting and help people torch calories while working.

However, people who opt to stand when working are likely to be burning only fractionally more calories than their seated colleagues.

This is according to new research from the University of Bath.

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Burning off the equivalent of a celery stick

Their study found that the ‘benefits’ of standing over sitting equate to little more than nine calories an hour – the equivalent of just one stalk of celery. In fact, purely for weight gain perspective, it would take individuals who opted to stand nearly the entire day to burn just one cup of coffee.

The research team tested the resting metabolic rates of 46 healthy men and women. Participants were then asked to lie down, sit down or stand up before measurements were taken of their expired gases in order to assess how many calories they burnt through the activity.

With only marginal gains in calories expended observed, the study questions the effectiveness of standing as an effective strategy for weight loss and in the treatment of obesity.

Sitting health risks: It’s bad for your brain

“We found that energy cost increase of 0.65 kJ per minute from sitting to standing naturally which equates to a 12% difference. However current interventions to reduce prolonged sitting like standing desks or wearable technologies only increase standing by a maximum of two hours per day. This limited time-frame would cause a person to expend less than 20 kcals more each day,” explains collaborator, Professor Gregg Afman, Professor of Kinesiology at Westmont College (US).

Dr Javier Gonzalez, who was also involved in the study from the University of Bath, adds that the very small increase in energy cost of standing compared to sitting observed suggests that replacing time spent sitting with time spent standing is unlikely to influence waistlines in any meaningful way.

“To put this difference in context, it would require an additional 20 hours of standing time, on average, to burn off a medium latte. Many people are becoming aware of the negative health effects of prolonged sitting, and so may opt for standing desks. These people should be aware that, whilst there are still some health benefits to standing more, they should not expect to see drastic changes in their body weight. In order to lose body weight, people should focus on increasing physical activity and focus on their diet too.”

Source: University of Bath via www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.