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Calories Burned While Standing vs. Sitting: A Comparison

06 May 2022

Plenty of research suggests that if you replace even a portion of the time you spent sitting during the day, you’ll see significant improvement in your health.

Excessive sitting is just not good for you, no matter how you twist it. Sitting comes with a surprising number of risks for something you do so much every day. From obesity to high blood sugar, cholesterol, and even cardiovascular disease, sitting for long periods of time is discouraged by healthcare professionals.

Yet, we have to sit for a long time while we work. As much as we’d all like to get up and walk around, most of us have desk jobs that require us to sit at a computer all day. There is only so much we can do when work calls for it, so most of us end up sitting in that spot for hours on end.

But we don’t have to do all that work sitting. While this may not have been an option in the past, adjustable standing desks have made it quite possible to do your work while standing.

Now you may ask, what if you get tired from standing for so long? Wouldn’t it be difficult to do all your work while standing?

Research shows otherwise! In fact, there are many benefits to gain from standing as compared to sitting. A glaring one is a fact that sitting and standing will burn a significantly different number of calories, even if the work you’re doing remains exactly the same.

The Theory vs. Reality of Calories Burnt While Standing

Understanding MET

Understanding MET

Let’s first take a look at MET. This is short for ‘metabolic equivalent of task’, which is a measure of how fast your metabolism works while working as compared to rest.

If you’ve ever used a cardio machine or something similar, you may have seen the MET abbreviation on it, though few people know what it actually means. To put it simply, MET is the amount of energy you spend when you’re at rest. When you’re carrying out some light exercise, your MET would be very low – around 1-3. On the other hand, if you’re carrying out moderate to heavy exercise, it would be much higher.

While this measure may seem irrelevant, it can help us understand the difference in calories burnt while standing and sitting.

With a simple calculation, you can estimate that sitting will give you a MET measurement of 1.5 while standing will give you about 2.3.

Therefore, when you crunch the numbers, the theoretical MET value for standing is a little less than twice the one for sitting. To determine how many calories this burns, you simply multiply your body weight in kilograms by this number. That means that someone who weighs 50 kilograms will burn about 115 calories per hour when standing, and only 75 if they were sitting. There is quite a difference!

But these are just the theoretical values. How does this translate in the real world?

Calories Burnt While Sitting vs. Standing

Actual Calories Burnt While Sitting vs. Standing

The problem with using theory for these things is that most times you won’t be performing just one activity. You may be sitting for fifteen minutes, then you may stand up and walk over to the toilet.

Or you may be standing for half an hour, and then sit down for a while, then stand up again. As you move around, the MET value of your current condition also changes.

So how many calories would you really burn while standing as compared to sitting? Research shows that there is no real number. Some studies showed a 33% difference in the calories burned, while others showed about 11%. Some research has even shown no substantial difference at all!

You might think, well, if there’s no real difference, why should I bother with it?

It may not seem like much, but standing while working can actually make a difference. Sure, that may not be a very drastic one, and you probably won’t meet your calorie loss goals within the day, but you can make progress towards it.

A standing desk can help you burn around 200 calories during your workday. Again, this doesn’t seem like much, but the point to remember is that you won’t spend your entire day standing in one place. You’d be walking around to talk to your colleagues, to get lunch, to go to the toilet. You may sit for some time, and you may climb stairs.

All these activities combined will make a much bigger difference in health than spending the same workday sitting.

Sitting for very long periods of time also tends to ‘turn off’ your fat-burning enzymes. These are called HSL – hormone-sensitive lipase – and ATL – adipose triglyceride lipase – and they exist in the body’s fat tissue.

When these enzymes remain inactive, the body can’t break down the triglycerides found in fat cells. This means that the enzymes in your body responsible for breaking down fats will have a tough time doing their job. This also contributes to weight loss and calorie burning.

Still, if your purpose is to lose weight, you probably won’t see results just by spending your workday standing. Because the calories lost in comparison to sitting are so few, it will take a very long time for the difference to be visible. That said, there are undeniable benefits to standing more often than you sit.

In practice, you’d be alternating between the two because we do get tired and we do want to sit after a long period of standing. Still, it is a much better option to do as much work as you can while standing than to do it while sitting.

At the end of the day, standing also has health benefits besides just losing calories!

Sitting for long periods of time can cause poor posture, which can result in aches or pain that you definitely do not want to live with. Standing while working has also been proven to improve your mental performance and focus. It also boosts your creativity!

Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk

Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk

If you want to improve your sedentary lifestyle and make it a more active one, the Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk is perfect. It comes with an adjustable height that lets you play around with it so it can be used for working while you sit as well as while you stand.

Besides just being adjustable, it comes with programmable height presets as well, so you can simply save your preferences in it. This will save time when you want to adjust it later, since you won’t have to fiddle around with the settings. On top of that, all it takes to move it up and down is a press of a button!

The desk also comes with an anti-collision function that keeps the table from being damaged or from damaging any other objects when it is moving. It comes with sensors that detect when the desktop comes in contact with any objects, at which point it immediately stops. This way, you can get any of your things out of the way before the table squashes them.

You also don’t have to worry about kids or pets playing around with the settings since the desk comes with a safety lock button. By locking the control panel, you can keep your desk settings from being tampered with.

The desk itself also takes up minimal floor space. Bulky furniture can be troublesome when it comes to setup because of how much space it takes. If your workspace already has a bunch of things in it, adding more furniture can make the room look stuffy and cluttered.

The Comhar desk doesn’t have this problem. It takes up a minimal amount of floor space, so you can set it up in a corner or a nook, and still get all your work done.

On top of just being adjustable and overall perfect for any workspace, it gets better! It comes with a USB charging port where you can plug in your devices and keep the desk from getting too cluttered with wires and cords. The charging station is built into the desk itself and looks clean and elegant.

The desk comes with three different tabletop options. You can pick from wood, bamboo, or glass, depending on what kind of desk suits your workspace the most. With this adjustable standing desk, on top of burning off those extra calories, you can make your office space look elegant and stylish.

There is no better option for your workspace desk than the Comhar All-in-One. It has everything you want from a standing desk and more. Whatever your workspace needs, Flexispot has you covered!