Office Potatoes: Standing Can Burn Calories, Improve Health

Share this post

Do you ever feel like your office chair has become an appendage rather than just a place to sit? What if you found out that appendage could put your health at risk? Recent studies have found that people who sit for eight hours or more a day are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, chronic back problems, obesity, and heart disease. What can you do to prevent chair potato syndrome? Stand up for health.

sitting at desk backacheAccording to registered dietician Denise Reynolds, people who spend more time standing at work tend to be healthier than those who sit. “Periods of standing throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone, and vitality,” Reynolds wrote in EMaxHealth website in April. “Standing for just two hours during an average workday can burn an extra 280 calories. In one year, that could potentially provide a weight loss of around 20 pounds.”

Leaving your chair may also promote greater productivity, focus, and give you new ideas. Standing increases blood flow to the brain and thus improves concentration.   Start by using large books or boxes to provide a raised surface area to allow you to stand while you type, read, or write. If you are encouraged by the results you may want to invest in a stand-up desk or adjustable desk that allows you to change the height of your work area throughout the day. But these are pricey, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and may not be realistic or designed for most cubicle office environments.

treadmill deskIn the meantime, make use of what’s available for breaks from your chair environment. Novelist Philip Roth uses a lectern as a desk. Try some boxes to raise the surface of an empty conference room table. Or just take frequent breaks. Set cell phone and calendar reminders to get up and move around for at least 5-10 minutes of each hour you sit.

If you get hooked, you can always save up for the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk, a treadmill outfitted with a desktop so you can walk while you work.

- Pia Hinckle

Comments (1)

  • anon
    Daneen (not verified)

    I've been reading a lot about sitting disease and it's great to see the message about moving and standing more getting out there!

    In the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention II study, it found that women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day. And men were 18 percent more likely to die. I'm a woman. This study is alarming.

    Corporations have to wake up and take a stand and bring this element of moving, walking, standing into the workplace.

    I'm lucky that I am able to use a WorkFit sit-stand workstation and am standing 5 hours out of my work day. It makes a difference on productivity and my energy levels. When standing, I find myself walking to other's desks to answer an email instead of sending an email. I'm a walker/runner that logs 10-12 miles a week, so knowing that I need to be doing more than this activity, just standing makes a lot of sense!

    Here's a website to get more information about standing.

    Thanks for moving more and standing up!!

    Nov 09, 2010


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent WorkLife articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019
Does your company’s anti-harassment training measure up?
April 2, 2019
How to keep workplace leftovers out of the garbage
March 28, 2019
Tidying your workspace can bring a fresh perspective
March 7, 2019
A Buddhist take on cubicle culture
February 19, 2019
Know the risks when sparks fly at the workplace
February 12, 2019
The benefits of employee wellness programs
February 6, 2019
Three tips for taking your work life to the next level
January 29, 2019

More recent articles:

Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019
Three steps to help you train for your half marathon
March 26, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.