How Many Calories Do You Burn With a Standing Desk

Written by in Adjustable Desk
Quick Overview

You don’t need the latest in workout technology to live a healthier lifestyle. All you need to do is…stand up! A sedentary lifestyle of working seated at a desk can be detrimental to your health. In contrast, active standing while working can do wonders for your body, from helping to burn more standing desk calories to reducing the risk of heart and metabolic diseases. There is a reason why offices with standing desks promote a better work or study culture and it starts with the fact that putting employee’s health first means increased productivity, body confidence, and overall wellbeing.

Why Standing Desks Burn Calories 

On average, people sit for 7.7 hours a day, which combined with the amount of time we are sleeping, means we aren’t on our feet for very long. [1] It’s really no wonder obesity has been on the rise, with 1 in 5 American adults classified as morbidly obese. [2] Combined with unhealthy eating habits, our culture of too much sitting is causing weight gain in many adults and children.

While standing doesn’t feel like exercise, you will increase calories burned at a standing desk by staying more active. So, how many calories does a standing desk burn? Believe it or not, you can burn up to 30,000 calories over the course of a year by standing for just three additional hours each workday. [3] That’s the equivalent of eight pounds of fat! You would have to run 10 marathons to reach this calorie burn level and all you did was stand up!


Top Standing Desk Benefits

From weight loss to preventing varicose veins and cardiovascular disease, standing desks offer numerous benefits for the body. Below, discover just a few of the most touted pros of using a standing desk.

  1. Higher Productivity: Studies show that office workers who use a standing desk and alternate between positions throughout the day are more focused and therefore, more productive than those who sat all day. [4]
  2. Increased Metabolic Function: Staying in one position for too long starts to inhibit metabolic function, slowing down the number of calories burned. A slowing of your metabolic rate can not only make you gain weight, but also make you feel more sluggish, and eventually, put you at a greater risk of chronic disease. A sit stand desk allows you to burn extra calories and keeps your metabolic system functioning optimally.
  3. Reduced Strain on Your Back: One of the most common health benefits people experience from standing desks is that it reduces back pain.
  4. Better Circulation: When you sit for long periods of time, blood can pool in certain areas, causing blockages that produce unsightly veins and put you at risk of developing heart disease. [5] Standing up helps regulate blood flow.
  5. Improved Blood Sugar Levels: A stand-up desk can help regulate blood glucose levels, lowering your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.
  6. Improved Mental Health: Standing up throughout the day will give you more energy. You’ll feel better and find that your mood is more balanced. resizeimage 5 - How Many Calories Do You Burn With a Standing Desk

5 Easy Exercises/Stretches to Increase Standing Desk Calories Burned

Another great thing about working at a standing desk is that you can take breaks by doing small amounts of physical activity in place. Standing desks burn calories on their own, but interspersing these easy exercises throughout the day will help prevent weight gain.

  1. Arm Pulses: While standing with your arms at your side, pulse your arms backward for 20 seconds. Palms should be flat and facing backward.
  2. Chair Squats: Squat backward with your arms bent and hands clasped. Squat until you are just about to sit into your ergonomic chair and then stand back up.
  3. Tiptoe Raises: Raise and lower your body by going up onto tiptoe and back down twenty times. This works the calves and can be done while you are still typing.
  4. Neck Rolls: Don’t forget about your neck health! Roll your neck in a clockwise position slowly five times, then repeat counterclockwise. This will not only stretch out your neck, which might be tense from looking at the computer, but it will also relax your shoulders and relieve stress.
  5. Toe Touch: Take a break to stretch your hamstrings by reaching down to touch your toes. Let gravity pull your body down with your arms and neck completely relaxed. Knees can be bent.

Extra Support for Your Standing Desk

Standing throughout the day can bring on fatigue and other issues, so you may want to set up an ergonomic sit-stand workstation. You may like some extra support from your office accessories, including but not limited to:

  • Ergonomic standing desk chair. You can’t stand all the time. Having an ergonomic chair to aid posture and support you while sitting is a great idea for desk jobs.
  • Supportive shoes with arch support.
  • An anti-fatigue mat that cushions your feet and evenly distributes pressure.
  • Under desk elliptical that lets you do an easy cycle workout.

The Correct Way to Stand

Standing doesn’t do you much good if you are slouching and putting extra strain on your joints and muscles. In a correct standing posture, you should be standing neutrally with your feet shoulder-distance apart, knees not locked, stomach pulled in, head level, and shoulders back and down. [6] Don’t worry, there’s no drill Sargeant here to correct your alignment, but you will want to get this right to reap the most benefits of a standing desk.

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Don’t Forget to Exercise and Eat Well

As amazing as standing up can be for your health, it’s not a replacement for exercise. You’ll experience an increased calorie burn if you supplement your standing desk with exercising at least five days a week for a half hour or more [7]. Exercising and eating healthy foods combined with standing while at work will make you feel better on a daily basis. Not to mention, people who sit too much have a greatly increased risk of all-cause mortality than those who have a more active lifestyle, according to a study done by the University of Sydney. [8] If you don’t want to stand more for your productivity levels, do it for your life!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a standing desk?

Standing desks have many benefits such as reducing back pain and improving one’s mood.

Learn more about the benefits of adjustable desks here.

How many calories does a standing desk burn?

When using a standing desk, an individual burns about 88 calories an hour compared to the 80 calories burned while sitting. While these additional 8 calories may not seem like much, adjustable desks offer many additional health benefits.

Learn about the benefits of adjustable desks here.

How to use a standing desk

To achieve the benefits of a standing desk, it is important to adjust the platform to your height. While knowing your height and health conditions are required for best results, the rule of thumb is to raise your standing desk to elbows’ height with the screen at eye-level and your wrists equal to the desk surface.

For in-depth instructions, follow our standing desk height guide.

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