How to Stay Fit and Healthy with a Standing Desk

November 04, 2021 6 min read

How to Stay Fit and Healthy with a Standing Desk

A growing number of studies associate too much sitting with chronic health conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. On the other hand, standing improves posture, increases metabolism, supports bone health, and enhances blood flow – all of which will help you evade the risks of sitting for long stretches of time.

Fortunately, standing desks are becoming more affordable and popular. These desks let you work comfortably while standing instead of sitting in a chair. In fact, sales of these desks have increased over the past few years; in several cases, sales of stand-up desks have now surpassed sales of traditional desks.

But will using a standing desk help you shed weight? Let’s find out!

What Are the Dangers of Sitting for Prolonged Periods of Time?

1. Blood Clots

Sitting for a long period of time can cause blood clot formation in the legs. Once blood clots form, they can travel to the lungs and lead to a pulmonary embolus (PE). PE can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath, and even death.

2. Weak Bones

Your bones get weaker when you sit for a long period of time. In addition to this, your skeletal system can experience inflammation, bone spurs, and pain.

3. Diabetes and Obesity

The ability of the insulin hormone to usher glucose out of your blood and into your cells may decrease when you sit for an extended period of time. Vascular function may be decreased, and cholesterol and markers of inflammation may increase.

4. Cancer

Too much sitting can increase the risk of endometrial cancer and colon cancer. According to one review, the risk for colon cancer jumps 8%, and the risk for endometrial cancer jumps 10% for every extra 2 hours each day spent sitting.

5. Back and Neck Pain

Sitting too much can be a primary cause of pain in the back. It can add a huge amount of pressure to the spinal discs and back muscles. Additionally, it can cause increased stress on the legs, neck, and back.

6. Anxiety and Depression 

The more you sit, the higher your risk for anxiety and depression, even if you work out. On the other hand, the more you move during the day, the happier you are.

Standing Desk and Weight Loss

According to one study, people can avoid adding additional pounds and reduce their body weight by standing for 6 hours daily.

In contrast, sitting for a long period of time has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The research, which was reported in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, assessed whether standing increases the amount of calories burned more than sitting. Scientists determined results from 46 studies with 1,184 subjects in all. Subjects were aged 33 years, 60% were males, and weight and the average body mass index were 65 kg and 24 kg/m2.

Scientists discovered that people who weigh 143 pounds burn 0.15 kcal every minute more when standing compared to sitting. If an individual who weighs 65 kg stands for 6 hours daily instead of sitting, they burn around 54 extra calories.

Standing is also linked to lower rates of diabetes, strokes, and heart attacks. Therefore, the advantages of standing could go beyond weight control.

In a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, scientists measured consumption of oxygen to assess calories burned while performing various activities, including standing, watching TV, sitting, and walking. The 74 healthy individuals burned 210 calories/hour while walking, 88 calories/hour while standing, and 80 calories/hour while sitting.

That is to say, you can burn 24 calories more daily by using a standing desk for 3 hours. However, you can burn 100 calories more daily by walking for 30 minutes during your lunch break.

Other Benefits of a Standing Desk

1. May Increase Your Life Span

Health conditions associated with an inactive lifestyle like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease can shorten your life span and harm your overall well-being. Decreasing your sitting time by 3 hours daily would increase your life span by 2 years.

2. Enhance Your Energy Levels and Mood

Your risk of anxiety and depression increases by being inactive, and using stand-up desks can improve your mood and well-being.

During a study, subjects used sit-stand workstations and alternated between standing and sitting at work. They reported feeling more focused and energized, and less stressed while using sit-stand workstations.

3. May Decrease Blood Sugar Levels

According to another study, switching between standing and sitting every half an hour all day decreases blood sugar levels by 11%.

In a study of 10 employees, standing for 3 hours post-lunch decreased blood sugar levels by 43% compared to sitting for 3 hours.

Your risk of diabetes and high blood sugar is notably decreased by spending more time standing while working.

4. Boosts Productivity

Stand-up desks are ergonomically built to enhance your workplace comfort and efficiency. In a study, workers at standing desks were 46% more productive than workers who were seated.

5. Decreases Neck and Back Aches

Individuals who sit at a desk throughout the day usually experience headaches, poor blood flow, as well as neck pain and back pain.

Spending some hours standing instead might ease your discomfort if you are experiencing frequent backaches. One study found that individuals who spent 60 minutes standing noticed a 54% reduction in neck and backaches. And in another study, people who worked at sit-stand workstations experienced a significant decrease in lower back pain.

Valuable Tips to Increase Your Weight Loss Efforts

You can increase the advantages of a stand-up desk by using it in combination with other lifestyle changes.

  • Walk during your lunch hour: Take a walk to make the most of the lunch break. You can cover from 1.5 to 2 miles in just half an hour of walking. And you can burn 200 calories, depending on your weight and how fast you walk.
  • Bring your own lunch box: You should bring your own food to work as it helps you control what you are eating. Instead of hurrying to buy lunch every day, this ensures you will make a meal that is not only delicious but healthy for you as well.
  • Exercise at your desk: Spending some time every day exercising at work is better than not working out. Even if it’s just for five minutes, make space for this in your schedule. There are a host of exercises you can do with less equipment. Books, chairs, and desks are some of the things you can use during your workout.
  • Consume more water: Water contains zero calories and can be extremely helpful for weight loss. It helps you burn extra calories, and may even curb your hunger if consumed before meals. According to a study, overweight people who consumed water before exercising lost 44% extra more weight than their counterparts who didn’t.
  • Use a stand-up desk that lets you stand or sit. This will encourage you to stay active.
  • Take regular breaks to stretch and move. Leave your chair and desk once an hour and move around for some time. Use an app on your mobile phone to remind you to move more at work, or buy a smartwatch and set it to notify you that it is time to get up and move.
  • Do aerobic exercise for one hour daily.
  • Stand while watching television or talking on your mobile phone.
  • Do not sit in a conference room for meetings. Instead, walk with your coworkers for meetings.


Studies have continuously demonstrated that sitting too much raises your risk of chronic health problems, such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Further, prolonged sitting is not good for your mental health. Plus, an inactive lifestyle invariably causes obesity and weight gain.

On the other hand, your overall endurance and energy levels improve when you are active. Your body burns more calories when you are standing or moving, and standing also helps reduce your risk for chronic diseases, decrease back pain, and control blood sugar.

To make a positive choice to support a healthy lifestyle, you can significantly decrease your number of seated hours by switching to a stand-up desk. And weight loss is just one of the many advantages.

Do you use a stand-up desk at work? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.







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