A sedentary lifestyle brings you nothing but a never-ending list of diseases at the top of which is obesity. You are just sitting, no activities, no physical exercises, and not losing enough calories, instead you are eating to fulfill your daily nutrition and are consuming calories more than required. All these things contribute to obesity. Moreover, obesity is said to be the mother of other diseases. Blood flows with difficulty so the heart has to exert pressure that consequently put your heart health at risk. If blood does not reach your brain, you can suffer a stroke and other neural problems. You can have diabetes and kidney stones. Susceptibility of fatty liver diseases, osteoarthritis, and cancer increases as well.
Experts recommend the use of standing desks to avoid these diseases. But the question arises, are standing desks efficient enough to help you lose weight, or is it just a myth? So, some research was made to benefit the readers like you, and here is the article containing the complete information you need regarding weight loss and standing desks.
Standing Desks Won't Help in Losing Weight
Journal of Physical Activity and Health posted an article last year in which the researchers analyzed the results of a study on the number of calories lost by various participants. All of these participants were involved in different activities. There was a total of 4 groups, one sat down while using a laptop, the other sat down to watch television, another group watched the television while standing, and the last group was given the freedom to walk at its self-selected pace. The activity lasted 15 minutes and the results were analyzed by calculating the number of calories lost using a calorimeter.
Those who walked lost up to 210 calories per hour. Those who spent their time sitting lost only 80 calories per hour. In the same manner, those who watched television by standing just lost 8 more calories per hour (88 calories per hour) as compared to those sitting.
Another conclusion that we can extract is that we have to stand for at least 3 hours just to lose 24 more calories as compared to what we were losing while sitting. By just eating a single oreo cookie, we will be gaining more than double the number of calories we lost in the past 3 hours.
Another study submitted in Applied Ergonomics studied the effect of sit-stand desks on several parameters including health and productivity. Though there were significant changes in behavior and discomfort, no improvements were seen regarding weight loss.
But You won't Gain Extra Pounds
There’s a good side of the picture as well. Even though standing only allows losing 8 calories per hour, it's still better than a poor sedentary lifestyle which not only brings obesity but also diabetes and cardiovascular problems with it. You won’t be losing much weight but you won’t be gaining weight either. Standing allows a bit more movements than sitting, giving more chances for good digestion, proper blood flow, a balanced hormonal level, and normal glucose level resulting in the maintenance of your body weight.
Activities That Can Help in Losing Weight
In case you are really determined to slim down your waist or just lose some extra pounds, there are a number of activities that you can associate with your work. These activities end up creating a win-win situation for you. Not only do they help you in losing weight but they also keep your mind fresh boosting your productivity. Moreover, you don’t have to give extra time to practice these activities, you can utilize your short breaks and can even practice along with your work.
Some of these activities might not be enough for weight loss, but when all of them are combined together, they bring exceptional results.
Do Some Stretches
Stretches are among the top of the list of non-exercise activity thermogenesis that contribute to weight loss in an office setting. Though they don’t help in losing as many calories as walking, running, or other exercises will do. But they still make a difference. Besides weight loss, they also help in toning the body and minimizing the risk of workstation injuries. As they don’t require much physical effort as exercise do, they won’t exhaust your energy.
Some main stretches that you can practice include stretching the upper body and arms by bringing the arms over the head with palms facing upwards. Reaching out one arm upwards just like we used to raise our hands to answer the teacher. It can be practiced on both arms separately. Triceps stretch is also a good idea. You can also ease your back by stretching forward or turning your body as if talking to a person standing at your back. Relax your legs by pulling and holding the knees towards the chest or by stretching out the legs and reaching for toes. Just practice any of these stretches for 10 to 30 seconds every time you get a chance.
Walk Away From the Desk When Possible
In the experiment explained above in which the loss of calories was noticed in the people while they sat, stood, and walked, the highest number of calories were lost by the people who walked. So, walking can definitely help your weight loss plan. Of course, you don’t need to walk away in the middle of your important task. The key is to walk as soon as you get a chance. For instance, got thirsty - bring your water yourself, craving coffee - go and make it by yourself, got a phone call - stand up and walk around your desk while answering it, need a document - go fetch it yourself, in fact, there are a lot of scenarios when you are not busy and can do these small tasks by yourself. Take the chance and lose some calories while doing your work.
Maintain Your Hormonal Balance - No Matter What it Takes
Sometimes the reason for excessive weight gain is not because you are consuming too many calories but because your hormonal balance is disturbed. You can maintain this balance at work but you also need to focus on activities outside the workplace. For instance, insulin overproduction can make you obese. Try to cut down on carbs and take more proteins, veggies, and omega-3 supplements. This can be practiced at the workplace too. You just need to be considerate of your diet. Leptin is another major hormone contributing to weight gain. Its level in the body can be maintained by exercising and getting proper sleep. Of course, these can not be practiced in the workplace. Ghrelin hormone works opposite to leptin and instead of exercising you need to eat food to maintain its level. In this case, do have snacks to eat during the break.
Standing desks are not helpful in losing weight. In a number of experiments, scientists have proved that standing helps in losing 2 to 3 more calories as compared to sitting. But they are not enough to contribute to weight loss. But unlike sitting, standing will not add more to your existing weight. In order to lose some significant weight, you can practice some activities like stretching, walking, and eating a healthy diet to maintain the hormones contributing to weight. All these activities lift off the burden of additional weight and keep you active and productive.