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Does Standing at Your Desk Burn Calories?

Stay healthy and active with a standing desk

Many people associate desk work with a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, many professionals fear they will gain weight while sitting in an office chair for extended periods throughout the work week. Unfortunately, this is a major contributor to many health problems, including unhealthy weight gain, obesity, and its associated medical complications. This is one of many reasons why office workers across Canada have been replacing their conventional workstations with height adjustable standing desks in recent years.

The question is - does standing at your desk really burn calories? The short answer is yes, however there are many factors that affect exactly how many calories are burned in an average work day. Total energy expenditure depends on how exactly you use your standing desk, which accessories you choose to pair with it, your specific body type, and more.

Rest assured, a standing desk is a great way to promote weight loss and other health benefits in the workplace. At EffyDesk, we offer a selection of premium standing desks that help you stay healthy and manage your weight even on those long days at the office. If you are thinking about purchasing a standing desk for the purpose of burning calories, continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the factors that affect energy expenditure.

How Does Standing at Your Desk Burn Calories?

Body composition

One of the major variables that affects calorie expenditure while sitting or standing is your size and overall body composition. The more you weigh and the higher percentage of muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest, or while standing upright. For example, a woman who weighs 130 pounds will burn far less calories while working at a desk than a 180 pound man. This is because it takes more energy to support the basic functions of a larger body. As a result of the drastic differences in body composition between men and women, men burn on average, double the additional calories while standing versus sitting.

Amount of time spent standing

Even with access to a high-quality standing desk, it is almost impossible to spend the entire workday on your feet. To give your legs a rest, you will need to occasionally lower your desk to a seated position, therefore losing some of the calorie burning potential that your ergonomic workstation has to offer. The key then, is to maximize the amount of time that you can comfortably remain in an upright position. Many standing desk users opt to accessorize their workstation with a standmat to make their experience as comfortable and sustainable as possible. With this small, inexpensive addition, you are likely to spend far more time standing behind your desk than you would on a hard office floor. This way, you will increase your ability to torch calories during working hours. The lightly cushioned material on our EffyDesk standmat is soft on the feet, making it possible to stand up for hours on end without feeling the need to take a long rest. Additionally, due to their soft surface, standmats encourage desk workers to shift around more often, burning more calories with no additional effort.

Walking pads maximize calorie expenditure

While using a standing desk can help burn an extra couple hundred calories per day, adding a light exercise accessory such as a walking pad makes it possible to see significant weight loss in a short time. For those who are looking for a way to combat the negative effects of sitting for extended periods, this piece of equipment can provide lasting health benefits such as lowering your resting heart rate and improving blood circulation. Maintaining a slow walking pace will allow you to remain focused on your tasks without causing a distraction or working up a sweat in the workplace. The average person burns approximately 200 calories per hour while using a walking pad. This is as much as four times the amount of energy that is burned while seated, and approximately 2-3 times as much as we burn while standing in one place. At EffyDesk, we offer a high-quality walking pad that fits perfectly underneath our top-rated standing desk models.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is the energy that we burn with unintentional movements such as bouncing our legs or fidgeting behind our desks. NEAT tends to be at a minimum while seated or lying down, as the body is almost entirely at rest. When we stand up behind a desk, we are much more likely to burn calories in the form of NEAT. Whether stretching our legs or shifting our weight from one side of the body to another, we are much less likely to stand in one position than we are to sit still. This is one of the largest contributors to the extra calories that are burned while using a standing desk.

An elevated heart rate

The science behind why we naturally burn more calories while standing rather than sitting can be explained by an elevation in our heart rate. Standing upright requires more energy as our bodies need to support our entire muscle mass. Conversely, sitting allows us to rest much of our muscle mass on a chair, meaning our muscles do not require the same level of blood circulation, and our heartbeat can drop to its resting rate. On average, standing burns approximately 0.15 additional calories per minute, in addition to our basal metabolic rate. Over the course of a full, 8-hour work day, this will equate to approximately 250 extra calories burned.

Are you looking for a workstation that will help you burn calories on the job? A standing desk is the perfect way to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent excess weight gain. Contact us today to learn more about our selection of ergonomic standing desks, chairs, and accessories.