Scientists have found a simple way for office workers to burn extra calories and avoid the perils of sitting all day: stand and type.
Using adjustable ‘sit-stand’ desks at work can help employees burn more calories than those who sit and work all day, a new study has found.
Employees with sit-stand desks stood 60 minutes more a day at work compared to their co-workers with sitting desks, and they continued to do so long after their newfangled desks lost their novelty.
Plus, the sit-stand desk users walked an additional six minutes a day at work.
Consequently, the employees with sit-stand desks burned up to 87 more calories a day than their sitting counterparts – a small but significant amount that researchers say could be important in fighting the obesity epidemic in the US.
“Our findings are important because they support redesigning the traditionally sedentary office environment as a potentially cost-effective approach for fighting the obesity epidemic,” said corresponding author Lucas Carr, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa in US.
The study looked at employee activity over a five-day workweek. Participants had their sit-stand desks for an average of 1.8 years prior to the study.
“This study is unique in that we looked at long-term users of these desks whereas previous studies have examined employee’s sitting/standing habits immediately after being provided a new sit-stand desk, which is not a true test of whether someone will use the desk over the course of their 20- to 30-year career,” Carr said.
Recent studies show sedentary jobs have risen 83 per cent since 1960 and now account for 43 per cent of all jobs in US.
Office workers sit more than 80 per cent of the workday, placing them at increased risk for many sedentary-related pathologies, according to the study.
However, results of the study found sit-stand desks could change that by offering “a sustainable approach for reducing sedentary behaviour” for office workers whose inactivity puts them at risk for such conditions as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
The study involved 69 middle-aged, mostly female employees – 31 using sit-stand desks and 38 using sitting desks – in a variety of office jobs.
For five working days, participants wore a device that measured their body positions, movements, and the intensity or pace of their movements around the clock.
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.