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Workers who stand at their desks ‘can stave off weight gain’

Standing increases energy consumption by 10 calories per hour

Workers who stand at their desks use 12% more energy than those who sit, a study suggests.

The researchers from Bath University said avoiding sitting in a chair all day can help people to stop gaining weight.

They measured the energy consumed by people who stand at their desks compared with those who sit and found the muscles that people use to keep upright burn relatively large amounts of energy.

James Betts, professor of metabolic physiology at Bath University, who led the study, said prolonged sitting is a major health concern.

He said the proliferation of height-adjustable work stations as well as wearable technologies have the potential “to facilitate effective management of body mass”.

The study found that standing increased people’s energy consumption by about 10 calories an hour. Standing all day would burn calories roughly equivalent to one McVitie’s milk chocolate digestive biscuit, which typically contains about 85 calories, The Times reports.

Betts warned that although standing at a desk might stave off weight gain, it would not help people to lose weight and that exercise is essential for this.

“The focus should be on regularly interrupting prolonged sedentary behaviours, both sitting and standing still, to insert physical activity that gives your muscles some work to do and adds to your rate of energy expenditure,” he said.