You can do it now, while reading this article.
It’s a fact: Most deskbound workers aren’t getting enough physical activity on a normal working day. Add a poor diet to that and you get an increasingly overweight nation.
Though weight gain seems inevitable as you grow older and remain in a sedentary job, there’s a foolproof way to turn the tide and actually lose weight: Stand, don’t sit.
A new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that standing instead of sitting for six hours a day can prevent weight gain, and even help people lose weight.
By analysing more than 1,000 participants, researchers found that standing burns 0.15 calories more per minute than sitting, based on a 65kg person. That works out to an extra 54 calories lost a day, which equates to 2.5kg in a year, and 10kg in four years.
Of course, these figures assume there’s no increase in food intake. (Obviously, you shouldn’t eat more if you don’t want to gain weight.)
“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,” says senior author Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Chief of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US.
Here’s the gist: As long as you watch your diet – for instance, have more protein, fibre and complex carbs, and stop stuffing your face with evil snacks every time you get a distressing email from your boss – you are almost guaranteed to maintain your weight. Stand instead of sit most of the time, and you can look forward to being 2.5kg lighter in a year.
By the way, this calorie burn estimate excludes tiny movements like fidgeting, swaying and stepping backwards and forward, which all burn significant calories overtime. (Here are 16 other ways to burn calories without trying. Every little thing adds up!)
Go ahead, unglue your butt from the chair and get moving already. Better still, get your co-workers to join in so you won’t be the only one standing.