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Standing at work may not benefit employees much more than sitting: Study

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Many employees perceive standing while working as a simple way to burn much more calories as compared to sitting all the time. But a new study titled ‘The Energy Cost of Sitting versus Standing Naturally in Man’, by the University of Bath and Westmont College has revealed that standing is not much more beneficial than sitting at work.

The study, published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Science journal, tested the resting metabolic rates of 46 healthy men and women after they lay down, seated down or stood up. Measurements were taken of their expired gases to assess the number of calories burnt throughout the activity.

It was then found that employees who opted to stand while working are likely to burn only fractionally more calories than their seated colleagues – equivalent to about nine calories per hour.

More surprisingly – individuals who opt to stand would have to do so nearly the entire day to burn just one cup of coffee, and an average of an additional 20 hours to burn off a medium-sized latte.

ALSO READ: Want to live longer? Adopt these workplace and lifestyle habits

University of Bath’s Dr Javier Gonzalez said the very small difference made by standing as compared to sitting suggests that replacing sitting time with standing is unlikely to influence the waistlines in a meaningful way. Instead, getting moving and eating healthy is recommended.

He shared: “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.”

In line with that, a previous study on pedal desks versus standing desks previously featured on Human Resources also affirms that standing may not be as effective or feasible, as they may lead to fatigue or discomfort after a prolonged period of time.

Photo / 123RF

ALSO READ: How HR leaders in Asia are prioritising health and wellbeing

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