Study: Standing is Not Exercise

Exploring Intensity

Study: Standing is Not Exercise

We need to sit less. This has pretty much been proven in studies during the last couple years. Our desk jobs are killing us, and we need to stand up and stretch our legs every fifteen minutes, at least.

Many of us aren’t thinking we need to stand up just for our health, though — we’re thinking that getting up will burn more calories than keeping our butt in a chair. Some of us are even using standing desks, thinking this will help us tighten our belts.

But a new study shows that if this is what you’re counting on, you’re gonna be disappointed.

Researchers in Pittsburgh rounded up 74 subjects in their mid-20s who have spent some time in a cubicle but were more or less fairly healthy. They were then broken up into four groups, according to this article:

One group was asked to sit and type at a computer for 15 minutes and then stand up for 15 minutes, moving around and fidgeting as little as possible.

Another group also sat for 15 minutes, but watched a television screen and didn’t type. Afterward, they immediately moved to a treadmill and walked for 15 minutes at a gentle, strolling pace.

The third group stood up for 15 minutes and then sat down for 15 minutes.

And the final group walked on the treadmills for 15 minutes and then sat.

And this study was no joke — everyone wore masks to help clock how much energy they were using/calories they were burning so we feel this is a pretty accurate take on what sitting/standing/walking does.

And it turns out that standing is not exactly a strenuous exercise. In fact, getting up and just standing for minutes only burns about two more calories than if you were just to keep sitting: 22 calories vs. 20 calories. So basically nothing.

And if you are at one of those standing desks, after an hour you will have burned less than 10 extra calories.

But walking, the study showed, lived up to the hype. A 15-minute stroll is about three times as effective as standing, and doing that four times would eliminate 130 extra calories a day.

So yes, standing is still better than sitting and if walking is not an option than for your overall health, we suggest making sure you peel yourself off that chair as much as you can. But if you really want to make a difference when it comes to your weight, then you need to move – and move more often.