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Is Sitting Down Slowly Killing You?

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The debate between standing and sitting isn’t just about comfort; it’s a caloric battle that could impact your health. While the difference in calories burned may seem subtle, it accumulates over time, influencing overall well-being. 

In fact, sitting too much has become a bit of a health panic as of late, with many comparing it to heavy smoking in terms of its overall health benefits. While we wouldn’t go that far, it’s definitely important to take a look at your sitting versus 

How Many More Calories Does Standing Actually Burn?

For many people, this is the bottom line: How many more calories are you going to burn when you’re standing versus when you’re sitting down? 

Fortunately, there’s a very simple and straightforward answer to this question. When you stand, you burn approximately 70 to 95 calories per hour, depending on factors like sex, age, height, and weight. In contrast, sitting burns only 65 to 85 calories per hour. Despite the seemingly modest difference, swapping just three hours of sitting for standing could result in burning 15 to 30 extra calories. 

This is important because one way that you can help your weight loss is by finding ways to burn extra calories that aren’t exercise. Fidgeting is one example, but it appears that standing is another way for you to hack biology and get more caloric burn out of your everyday daily activities. 

Why Standing Burns More Calories

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It’s not the most complicated thing in the world: More movement means more calories burned. So why is your body burning more calories simply by standing rather than sitting if you’re not moving around? 

It’s because standing engages more muscle mass, contributing to increased calorie burn. Muscle mass plays a crucial role; the more muscle you have, the faster you generally burn calories. Additionally, standing involves more body movement (body movement really just means “muscle engagement”), further contributing to calorie expenditure.

Factors like height and weight always affect calorie burn and nowhere is this more true than with standing versus sitting. Larger individuals tend to burn more calories daily due to increased muscle mass. Aging can lead to muscle loss, impacting calorie burn. Understanding these dynamics helps tailor lifestyle choices to individual needs.

But Wait, There’s More: Other Benefits Of Standing 

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Beyond calorie burn, standing offers various health benefits, including reduced risks of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers. It can also alleviate lordosis, an excessive inward curvature of the spine, and contribute to muscle tone by actively engaging specific muscles to maintain an upright posture.

Still, there are some potential downsides to standing all the time. Prolonged standing may lead to discomfort, swelling in the lower limbs, and a weakened mental state. It’s essential to strike a balance, listen to your body, and avoid excessive standing, especially in a single stretch.

How To Incorporate More Standing Time Into Your Life

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You don’t have to start standing all the time. Indeed, your approach should be to gradually add standing time to your daily routine. Starting with an extra 10 to 15 minutes a day and incorporating standing breaks every 30 minutes of sitting can make a positive impact.

Integrating standing at work involves options like standing desks, taking standing breaks during phone calls, or having stand-up meetings. At home, periodic walks, standing while using your smartphone, or watching television while standing can contribute to increased standing time.

For desk jobs, consider sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, or cycling desks to reduce sedentary time. Proper positioning is crucial to avoid discomfort and aids like sole inserts, supportive shoes, or standing pads can enhance comfort.

Standing versus sitting isn’t just about preference; it’s a lifestyle choice with potential health implications. Understanding the caloric nuances, individual factors influencing calorie burn, and the broader health impacts empowers individuals to make informed decisions. Whether at work or home, striking a balance between sitting and standing contributes to overall well-being. Listen to your body, consult healthcare professionals if needed, and embark on a journey to optimize your health through mindful sitting and purposeful standing.

Are you going to make any changes to your daily routine so that you can stand up more? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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