Calories Burned Standing vs. Sitting
In this age of high-tech exercise equipment and complicated, patented weight-loss techniques, could something as simple as standing up instead of sitting down help you to burn calories and stay healthy over the long term?
What Are Calories Again?
Calories, tiny bits of usable energy gained from food consumption, are a necessary part of human existence and are essential to fueling activity. Unfortunately, however, in our increasingly sedentary lives, this energy is often not used and simply sits in our body in the form of extra weight or fat. Losing weight, then, is as simple as using up enough energy to burn these extra calories stored in our cells.
What Does That Mean for Me?
One pound of weight is equal to about 3,500 calories. Any activity you partake in during a regular day will help to burn off a few of those calories, which are then replaced by new ones from the food you eat. To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. To maintain weight, it’s enough to simply burn roughly the same amount of calories as you eat. Let’s focus on the calorie-burning benefits of standing up as opposed to sitting down.
Sitting in the Chair
The chair, possibly one of the most formidable enemies in the fight to lose weight and get fit, is greatly responsible for our modern epidemic of obesity. Modern man spends a huge amount of time in a seated position. We have desk jobs and desktops, which we take breaks from sprawled on couches. The majority of our traveling today is done rocketing over land, air, or sea while in a seated position. We sit while waiting for important appointments and while eating. And the bad news in all of this? Sitting burns very few calories.
The Curse of the Chair
Sitting does, on the other hand, compress the spine and stiffen the neck, chest, and shoulder muscles. Many poorly designed seats contribute to serious posture problems and chronic inflexibility. As pleasurable as it may be, sitting for prolonged periods can wreak havoc on your body over the long term.
Standing on Your Own Two Feet
Standing reverses all of these negative effects. Standing will stretch your spine, reduce the stiffness in your muscles, and improve your posture. Many people assert that standing even helps clear their mind. Even though it is not considered an exercise, the simple act of standing up can burn through more calories and contribute to weight loss.
But I Exercise!
Even if you regularly exercise or go to a gym, if you spend the majority of your waking hours seated, you could still suffer from health complications and end up obese. Sitting for eight hours a day and then going to the gym for half an hour could still put your calorie intake higher than the amount you burn, in which case you will still put on weight. Doing little things throughout the day, such as standing up, to increase the calories your body burns can make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
Exactly How Much?
For an average person standing up has been shown to burn 50 more calories per hour than sitting. This amount fluctuates greatly with your size and gender. Even though 50 may seem like a tiny amount, if you try to stand up as much as possible, the calories burned can start to add up.
If you manage to stand instead of sit for four more hours a day, you will be automatically burning 200 extra calories. In a single year, this tiny adjustment will contribute to a weight loss of almost 20 pounds. Now, that’s something worth jumping up and down about.