How Many Extra Calories Can You Burn Standing Up Vs Sitting Down?

You may have heard that sitting can be dangerous to your health, and even deadly. You can actually shave up to 7 or 8 years off of your life if you sit too much on a day-to-day basis. You know standing is healthier than sitting, but just how effective is standing versus sitting for burning calories?

A couple of minutes after you sit down, your calorie burn drops to a nearly nonexistent level. When you are sitting, you burn around 1 calorie per hour. This is because the electrical activity level of muscles throughout your body plummets rapidly. Your circulation suffers, and your metabolism drops.

Research which goes all the way back to the 1950s shows that bus conductors (standing up at work) burned more calories and were less prone to being overweight than bus drivers (sitting while they work). Significant studies conducted in the 60 years since have all agreed that standing burns more calories than sitting.

One such study was conducted in the UK. Dr John Buckley, at the University of Chester, led a research team which asked real estate agents to stand when they would normally be sitting for at least 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.

That study showed the real estate agents’ heart rates improved by approximately 10 bpm (beats per minute) when they stood, as opposed to sitting. This means about 0.7 extra calories burned per minute when you choose to get on your feet instead of plopping down on your butt.

If that does not sound like much, consider this. That is roughly an extra 40 to 45 calories per hour burned. Stand up for 3 hours a day when you would usually be sitting, and that accounts for an additional 600 to 675 calories burned in a typical 5 day work week.

Over a year that small change would mean an additional 30,000 or more calories processed by your metabolism, the equivalent of 8 pounds of fat just melted off!

Doctors have found that the problem begins to occur when people sit for more than 3 hours per day. Purchase a fitness and activity tracker that automatically records your active and non-active minutes and hours each day. Or simply monitor how long you sit versus how long you stand on a daily basis.

Stand more and sit less, and every hour you do so you improve your circulation, increase your chance of living longer, and burn 40 to 45 calories that you wouldn’t have if you have remained sitting.