Get up off your bum and burn off the blubber
Get up, stand up! In his legendary refrain Bob Marley was singing about human rights — but it rings true for your health, too.
A person could lose 10kg over four years by swapping six hours of sitting with standing, a new study finds.
Obesity, heart disease and diabetes have been linked to prolonged sitting in prior research.
The senior author of the new study, Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chief of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in the US, said: “Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.
“It’s important to avoid sitting for hours at a time. Standing is a very good first step — no pun intended — to avoid this mindset of sitting interminably without moving.”
The results of 46 studies with more than 1,000 participants — on average 33 years old, with an average body weight of 65kg and 60% male — were analysed for this report.
Standing burned 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting, the researchers said. By replacing sitting with standing for six hours a day, a 65kg person would burn an extra 54 calories a day.
“Assuming no increase in food intake, that would equate to 2.5kg in one year,” said Lopez-Jimenez.This could be an underestimate of the benefits of being upright since people standing are more likely to make spontaneous movements, including swaying or shifting from one foot to another and taking small steps forward and back.
“They may even be more likely to walk to the filing cabinet or rubbish bin,” Lopez-Jimenez said.
The report noted even physically active people tend to spend most of their day in a chair and Europeans sit up to seven hours a day.
More research is needed on the longterm implications of standing for prolonged periods, if it is to be promoted as a healthy and effective behaviour change to prevent weight gain.
The findings were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology this week.
A survey of desk-based employees in Germany in November 2017 found they would like to reduce sitting time and spend more time walking and doing physical activity.
Researchers at the German Sport University Cologne said participants spent 73% of their days sitting down, 10.2% standing, 12.9% walking and 3.9% doing physically demanding tasks.
The employees said they would prefer to spend only half their work day sitting.