It seems everyone uses a computer these days. Hours can be spent each day on a computer for work, for pleasure, for reading, or for research. But, all this computer time usually involves sitting down.
Since we know sitting and sedentary behavior does not promote good health or physical fitness, the trend lately has been standing desks. Desks can built higher or computers can be raised to allow users to stand while internet surfing or working. The idea of the desk is that muscles are more actively engaged while standing instead of sitting.
But do they actually work?
Researchers measured the oxygen consumption of 74 people as they sat, stood, and walked to compare how many calories they burned doing each. Sitting burned 80 calories per hour, standing burned 88 calories per hour, and walking burning 210 calories per hour. The 8 calories more an hour standing burned translates in an extra 56 calories during a 7 hour working day (unless you eat lunch standing up, too).
Is 56 calories per day worth it? Of course, it’s up to you. But, consider that you can burn roughly the same number of calories by walking for 15 minutes than you can by standing for 7 hours as opposed to sitting. 15 minutes versus 7 hours to achieve the same caloric benefit doesn’t quite seem worth it. Factor in the cost to set up a standing desk, and it’s looking like even less of a great idea.
If you have a standing desk and like it, that’s great. Keep using it. But, don’t think that you’re getting a day’s worth of exercise by using it. To burn a significant number of calories to promote weight loss, you will still have to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. This is extremely important for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. While limiting calories after surgery does produce weight loss, you can achieve the maximum amount of weight loss by incorporating exercise into your lifestyle. Not only does exercise promote weight loss, but it also strengthens muscles, improves blood sugar, improves blood pressure, reduces stress, and reduces the risk of several cancers, all of which can be hugely beneficial for bariatric surgery patients.
The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric band, and gastric bypass patients come to his Boca Raton office from all over South Florida, including Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Miami, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Fort Lauderdale. Many of Dr. Shillingford’s weight loss surgery patients are seeking ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. While this small study doesn’t prove standing desks to be worthless, it does show that they aren’t the answer to exercise. So, get out there and walk, run, bike, swim, or play today!