You have probably noticed over the last few years that the popularity of sitting/standing desks has really taken off. In fact, sales of standing desks have soared in recent years, and in many cases their sales have far outpaced those of conventional desks.
You may have even read an article or two outlining the benefits of standing more. But is there any truth to these claims? Are sit/stand desks worth it or just hype?
First, if you’re new to this topic, let’s briefly talk about what a sit/stand desk is. It’s pretty self-explanatory actually, these desks are adjustable so the person can sit at them when needed and raise them so they may stand and continue to work.
What are the Benefits – If Any – To Standing More?
The claim is that sitting all day is harmful to our health, certainly harmful to our waistlines. A good majority of people who purchase these sit/stand desks do so in the hopes it will help them lose weight.
But does standing really help you burn significantly more calories? Research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health sought to answer this very question. So the researchers fitted 74 healthy people with masks that measured oxygen consumption (which would reflect how many calories were being burned) while doing computer work, watching TV, standing or walking on a treadmill.
The results? Sitting burned 80 calories an hour, about the same as typing and watching TV, standing burned 88 calories an hour, while walking burned 210 calories an hour. So standing for 3 hours would burn roughly 24 calories, which are the number of calories in a small carrot.
So when it comes to calorie burning and weight loss, a standing desk isn’t going to help you get the results you are hoping for.
So Are There Any benefits to Standing More?
While a standing desks won’t help you burn more calories, there may be some benefits to standing more throughout your day:
- Some studies have shown that after a meal, blood sugar levels return to normal faster on those days the person spends more time standing.
- Standing more will help reduce back and shoulder pain, and help keep hamstrings loose. (Sitting too much causes our soft tissues to tighten).
So are stand/sit desks really worth it? Probably not. You’d get just as much benefit making sure you get up and walk around the office or your home every hour. If you do want to stand more when you work, you can simply place a small shelving unit on top of your desk, or even place your laptop on a stack of books. It’ll save you a lot of money!