Standing more and sitting less could reduce your waistline, based on a recent study that found six hours of standing, rather than sitting, could help shed five pounds over a year.
Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, this study compared the amount of calories burned while standing versus sitting. It included data from 46 studies, ten of which were high-quality trials that randomly assigned participants to different interventions. Together, these studies included 1,184 adults with varying levels of physical activity.
Overall, researchers found that standing burns an extra 0.15 calories per minute on average compared to sitting. The difference in calories burned is even greater in men, likely because they have more calorie-burning muscle mass.
The average age of participants was 33; most were a normal weight, based on their body mass index (BMI).
While the difference between sitting and standing may not seem like much, researchers found that the benefits add up over time. By substituting sitting with standing for just six hours a day, authors calculate that the average person would burn an extra 54 calories a day. That activity would translate to a 5.5 pound loss over one year, with all else being equal.
Findings are promising, according to authors, given our largely sedentary lives. The average American adult spends more than 7 hours a day sitting—equivalent to up to 43% of adults’ waking hours. Too much sedentary time has been linked to increased risk for serious conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
As authors explain, standing more may be one helpful way to reduce sitting time. However, additional research is needed to explore the potential impact of standing vs. sitting on weight and overall health.