This Is Exactly How Many Calories You Burn While Standing at Your Desk

Just as sleeping has become the new key to wellness, sitting has turned into its biggest enemy, to the point where sitting has been dubbed “the new smoking.”

That’s pretty bad news, given that, according to, the average American spends 12 hours a day sitting down, be it in a chair at work, a desk at school, a car, or a couch. When you add the 7 hours of sleep that the average American gets, that’s almost 20 sedentary hours in a 24-hour day.

Furthermore, getting the medically-recommended 150 hours of exercise a week won’t necessarily offset the negative effects of prolonged sitting, which include an increased risk of diabetes, several types of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. For optimal health, it’s crucial to alternate between sitting and standing every thirty minutes.

In order to spread awareness for what scientific communities have coined the “Sitting Disease,” lots of offices have initiated standing desks, so that employees can alternate between working sitting down and standing up, and, if you’re wearing an apple watch, the device alerts you when you’ve been sitting for too long.

What would really motivate people to stand, of course, would be the knowledge that they could lose a little weight by doing so, but in the past, it was unclear whether or not you could actually burn calories (and if so, how many?) by standing, given that you’re not actually moving.

Now, a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has not only concluded that standing burns calories, but also determined precisely how many.

The researchers pooled data from 46 studies (10 of which were randomized trials), involving 1,184 people, with an average age of 33, and a 60/40 male to female ratio.

By measuring the amount of energy their bodies gave off while breathing in and out, the researchers concluded that a 143 pound person would burn 0.15 more calories a minute, or 9 calories an hour, more by standing rather than sitting.

Granted, that doesn’t sound like much, and the difference in sitting vs standing was far greater in men (who burned an extra 0.19 calories per minute) than women (who only burned an extra 0.10 calories per minute), probably because the women tended to weigh less.

However, that does mean that if you were to stand instead of sit through your an average 8-hour work day, you could burn an extra 72 calories just by standing.

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Rachell S. Anderson, Senior Writer

Written by Rachell S. Anderson, Senior Writer

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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