An active lifestyle is vital for weight management. Ideally, we should exercise regularly and avoid sitting too much. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to weight gain and an increased risk of a number of health conditions. Most people sit more than six hours a day because their jobs don’t allow them to move much. Could standing instead of sitting help you lose weight? The most recent study says yes. Scroll down to find out more about this.
Standing and Weight Loss
The widespread prevalence of sedentary lifestyle could explain the ever-growing rates of overweight and obesity around the globe. With excess weight, the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and different types of cancers also increases. To counteract the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, doctors recommend replacing sitting with standing. The theory is that standing enhances daily energy expenditure. Needless to mention that theory is very controversial.
Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez and a team of scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US carried out a study whose primary objective was to review available evidence on this subject. In order to get accurate answers on the difference in energy expenditure between standing and sitting, researchers searched Google Scholar, Medline, Web of Science, and Embase Scopus for experimental and observational studies that compared the two.
Results, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, show that 658 studies on this subject were identified. For the final analysis, scientists included 46 studies and 1184 participants. The average age of participants was 33 and 60% of them were men and the average BMI and weight were 24kg/m2 and 65kg (143.3lbs) respectively. Results confirmed that unlike sitting which contributes to weight gain, standing more aids weight loss.
How Much Weight Can We Lose by Standing?
Standing burns 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting, the study found. Replacing sitting for six hours a day with standing, a 65kg person could burn 54 calories a day. If we assume that same person doesn’t increase food intake, it would mean they could lose 2.5kg (5.5lbs) a year or 10kg (22lbs) in four years just by standing.
Of course, standing won’t shed 10 lbs in a short period of time, but it poses as a useful strategy that benefits weight loss, unlike sitting which undermines the effort. Not only does standing burn more calories, the additional muscle activity is associated with lower rates of strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes, Lopez-Jimenez explained. In other words, benefits of standing up more often extend beyond weight management.
Standing Could Burn More Calories than Study Showed
We could burn more calories while standing than the study showed, scientists revealed. How? Participants in the evaluated studies were asked to stand still for a certain period of time. They didn’t make any movement and there was no additional muscle activity.
So, if standing still can burn calories then an average person could spend even more. In reality, we rarely stand still and always make smaller movements which count as additional muscle activity. These smaller movements include shifting weight from one foot to another, taking small steps forward and back, swaying, and others.
Although it’s easy to consider those minor movements insignificant, they do contribute to energy expenditure, which is better than losing no calories at all.
The latest study discovered that replacing sitting with standing burns more calories and helps us lose about five pounds a year. Energy expenditure could be even bigger as participants in the studies were asked to stand still, but in reality, we make minor movements. Sure, standing won’t cause a major change in weight on its own, but it is more beneficial for your health than sitting and it contributes to weight management.
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