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Can Standing Desks Help Lose Weight?

June 10, 2022

Can Standing Desks Help Lose Weight?

Numerous factors can impede your weight loss efforts and, sadly, sitting at your desk all day is one of them.

Long periods of sitting have been related to heart disease, obesity, and even premature mortality. Excessive sitting may be to blame for more than 430,000 deaths a year, new sources claim. 

So, since sitting for an extended period can cause so many health problems, standing desks must be the solution, right?

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What This Article Covers:

Can Standing Desks Help You Lose Weight?

Are  standing desks the answer you need for all your weight-loss woes? Excessive sitting has become the subject of scrutiny over the last decade, and the subject has divided workplaces.

Standing, the argument went, was the logical antidote to our sedentary lifestyles. Sitting for an extended time has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, some types of cancer, anxiety, and an increased risk of dying young.

However, after a few years and hundreds of research, critics began to argue that the benefits of standing and  standing desk posture had indeed been exaggerated. What is the genuine answer? How many calories would someone burn if they stood or sat up?

A recent study may provide a more definitive response to date, at least in terms of weight loss. Standing does, in fact, burn calories, but not a lot of them: roughly 54 calories for a six-hour day of standing.

In other words, almost the same number of calories as an orange. The researchers combed through over 700 studies that attempted to quantify the health benefits of standing desks. 46 of them were stringent enough to be considered for their review.

The Truth About Standing Desks

How long should you stand at a standing desk? According to one study, standing burns 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting, with men burning a few more calories than women. 

That may not seem like much, but if you stand for an extra six hours per day, you will burn 54 more calories than if you sat around all day. 

The researchers projected that a 70 kg adult would lose 2.5 kilos a year if no other dietary or lifestyle modifications were made, which certainly seems attractive to anyone looking to shed the pounds.

Another study found comparable results. The researchers analyzed oxygen intake to calculate the number of calories burned while performing daily activities such as walking, sitting, watching TV, and standing. The 74 healthy volunteers burnt an average of 80 calories per hour when sitting and 88 calories per hour while standing, a difference of 8 calories/hour or 0.13 calories/minute — nearly identical to the initial review's findings.

Benefits of Standing Desks

Even though studies are in the early stages, it appears that using a standing desk does have at least some health benefits. It’s also been measured to boost productivity. 

At the absolute least, employing this style of desk can mitigate the negative effects of excessive sitting.

Below are seven scientifically supportedbenefits of using a standing desk.

Lower Risk of Weight Gain

Weight gain happens when you consume more calories than you burn. To enjoy healthy, consistent weight loss, you should aim to run at a 500-calorie deficit per day. 

While exercise is the most effective technique to burn calories quickly, merely standing instead of sitting can be useful as well.

In reality, compared to an afternoon of prolonged sitting, an identical amount of time spent standing has been shown to burn nearly 170 calories more. That's about 1000 additional calories burnt every week just by standing at your desk in the afternoon. 

This disparity may be one of the reasons why sitting for prolonged periods has been associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.

Reduces Back Pain

do standing desks help lose weight

Standing desks have been shown to be  effective for back pain.

Back pain is a typical complaint among office employees who sit all day. Several studies on employees with chronic back pain have been conducted to see if standing workstations help. After several weeks of using standing workstations, participants reported up to a 32% improvement in lower back pain.

While this doesn’t translate directly to weight loss, it can make your exercise regimen easier to adhere to. 

Sticking to an exercise plan is difficult at the best of times, more so when you’re feeling uncomfortable and sore. Eliminating back pain will help you overcome that midmorning slump keeping you from the gym, helping you maintain that ever-important calorie deficit.

Improves Mood and Energy Levels

Standing desks are also beneficial to your general well-being, which is one of the reasons  standing desks are better than sitting

Participants in a 7-week study who used standing desks reported less stress and weariness than those who sat the entire workday. Furthermore, 87% of those who used standing workstations reported greater vigor and enthusiasm throughout the day.

When they returned to their former desks, their moods returned to normal. These findings are consistent with other studies on sitting and mental health, which relate sedentary time to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

This, again, will have run-on effects on your weight loss efforts. Poor mood, anxiety, and depression are well-documented causes of collapsed diets and overeating. 

Keeping your mood and motivation up is key to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and standing desks can be a useful tool in your arsenal.

standing desk weight loss

Strengthen Your Weight-Loss Attempts

If you want to lose weight by transitioning to a standing desk, the results of this research may be discouraging. Losing only 2.5 kilos a year is a far cry from the rapid weight loss that people are looking for. 

However, keep in mind that this is only true if you make no other changes to your lifestyle and habits. You can maximize the benefits of a standing desk by combining it with other healthy changes.

One advantage of standing desks is that they allow you to exercise while you work. Even incorporating small, repetitive movements into your workday can help you burn calories, and every little bit counts.

Take a break every 45 minutes to do some stretching, which will help keep away sore joints and muscles.

You can even work out your legs by doing ankle curls or lifts while you work. It won’t burn as much fat as going to the gym, but by doing it throughout your day, you’ll start making good headway into burning off those excess calories.


Several sources claim standing desks to be a silver bullet to weight loss. While there’s some truth to the idea that standing desks can help you shed belly fat, it’s not the entire story. 

What is true is that standing burns more calories than sitting, it’s not enough on its own to make a dramatic difference. But incorporating a standing desk into your office space in conjunction with healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle could be the change you need to get you the body you’re looking for.

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