Good news for American nine-to-fivers looking to reduce their wasitlines: Working at a standing desk burns 87 more calories a day, on average, compared to just working on your duff.
People with adjustable sit-stand desks stand an average of 60 minutes more each day compared to their co-workers with ordinary desks—and that extra hour of getting off your ass translates to those precious 87 calories burned, according to a newly published University of Iowa study.
It might not sound like a lot, but American workers can use all the help they can get. “Studies suggest American workers today burn roughly 100 calories less each day while at work compared to American workers in 1960,” writes study author Lucas Carr, a professor of health and human physiology.
The findings might not seem like earth-shattering news—standing is obviously a little more work than sitting—but the Iowa study is the most concrete proof yet that standing desks have a practical, positive benefit on workers' health over the long term.
The Iowa study targeted 69 middle-aged people, comparing 31 who had used sit-stand desks for nearly two years against 38 people who just used old-school sitting desks. Study participants wore pedometer-like devices for five work days to measure body position and movement.
Considering a standing desk? Don't just stand the whole time—a ratio of 50 minutes of standing to every 10 minutes of sitting is ideal.
More research will need to be conducted in order to measure the effect of standing on various cardiometabolic health risk factors like weight and blood pressure, says Carr.