An easy way to lose weight is to stand instead of sitting. A new study discovered that standing rather than sitting for six hours each day could prevent weight gain as well as help lose weight.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York that assessed the difference between calories burned when standing and when sitting. In conducting the study, the team reviewed a total of 46 studies. All in all, there were 1,184 participants who were 33 years old in average and with the average body mass index (BMI) and weight of 24 kilograms per square meter (kg/m2) and 65 kg, respectively.
Results revealed that standing burned 0.15 kilocalorie (kcal) per minute more than sitting. Moreover, a person who weighs 65 kg would lose 10 kg in four years by replacing sitting with standing for six hours a day, assuming that there is no increase in food consumption.
“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,” said professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chief of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study.
The researchers also believe that the difference in energy expenditure between standing and sitting could be even bigger than what the study found. This is because the participants in the study were standing still, when in reality people make minimal movements, such as shifting weight or swaying from one foot to another, and taking small steps back and forth, while standing. In conclusion, substituting standing for sitting could be another behavior change that can help lower the risk of long-term weight gain.
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Lopez-Jimenez also pointed out that avoiding sitting for hours at a time and standing instead are important in order to prevent the mindset of sitting for long periods of time without moving.
“Who knows, it may also prompt some people to do a little more and take up some mild physical activity, which would be even more beneficial,” he said.
The findings of the study were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Consequences of sitting too much
Aside from weight gain, sitting too much can also cause other negative health effects. In fact, it has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death, according to a report by Harvard Medical School. People who have desk jobs or other jobs that involve sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time are at risk. A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that most of the waking hours of a person are spent on sitting – while watching TV, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive things.
Researchers of the study looked at 47 studies that focused on the health effects of sedentary behavior. They found that people who sat too much had increased risks of diseases and death, even if they exercised regularly. They observed higher rates of type-2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. (Related: Sitting for long periods increases your risk of death, study finds.)
Authors of the study shared tips on how to make it a habit to sit less. These include standing or moving around for one to three minutes every 30 minutes while at work; standing or exercising when watching TV; and standing when talking on the phone.
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