Working while standing up is being encouraged to reduce work-related sedentariness, but does it have real benefits on one’s health? Does working standing up really help to lose weight?
According to a study by the British Psychological Society, employees sit in their chairs for an average of 5.5 hours a day. Prolonged sitting has negative health consequences: back pain, excess weight, varicose veins in the legs, increased risk of diabetes, reduced blood circulation, poorly irrigated brain, etc.
To counter this sedentary lifestyle, some companies are encouraging their employees to work while standing up. Because this technique forces one to move around more, the question is whether it helps to lose weight on a daily basis.
According to an article published in 2018 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology summarising 46 other studies on the subject, standing causes an average of 0.15 more calories to be lost per minute than sitting in a chair. Over a six-hour working day, this equates to an additional loss of just 54 calories. This is a derisory calorie expenditure, which is also twice as great for men like that for women.
A sedentary lifestyle, the plague of the century?
Health problems related to physical inactivity at work are also not solved by standing. Indeed, according to this recent study, there is very little evidence that working while standing helps to reduce the risk of diabetes or heart problems.
But then, what is the right position to work in? Alan Hedge, Professor of Ergonomics at Cornell University in Ithaca (USA) advises that for every half hour of work, or if you’ve been sitting for twenty minutes, stand up and move around for eight minutes, and stretch for the remaining two minutes. A method that is not very easy to implement in an open space…