Standing up at your work desk helps to lose weight, study says

Standing up at your work desk helps to lose weight, study says

Americans spend an average of seven hours a day sitting down, which isn't doing their health any favors.

A new Mayo Clinic study found that standing instead of sitting six hours a day could help people shed more than five pounds a year. And over a year this may translate to a 2.5kg weight loss, they said.

The "couch potato" lifestyle has been blamed for contributing in recent years to the obesity epidemic, as well as increases in cases of heart disease and diabetes. "Some people might do less than that and still get a benefit". In the United States, the average ranges between three to seven hours.

Based on that data, the researchers concluded that standing burns 0.15 more calories per minute than sitting down.

The participants included in the studies averaged 33 years of age, 60 percent were men and the average weight of the volunteers was about 143 pounds.

The team added that the energy expenditure produced by standing could be even greater than shown in the study, as in the study participants were standing still whereas in reality people often make small movements while standing.

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Interestingly, the study found men burned around twice the amount of calories than women when standing. That's probably because people with more muscle mass burn more calories while standing. One of the reasons might be that men have to support a heavier muscle mass, leading to more calories to be used in the effort.

Study senior Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chair of preventive cardiology at Mayo Clinic in the United States, said that studies show that, in the USA, adults sit more than seven hours a day while the figure ranges from 3.2 to 6.8 hours a day in Europe.

Senior author Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Chief of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, said: "Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control".

As such, researchers suggest that office workers could achieve significant weight loss if they were to spend more time on their feet and less time spent perched at their desks. Recommendations to sit less and stand more, or to incorporate movement into their everyday lives - things like getting a pedometer to monitor their daily "step count", or find a daily "walking partner" - can go a long way to getting healthier, he said.

"It's important to avoid sitting for hours at a time".

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