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Standing instead of sitting could help you lose weight — but there’s a catch

A new study has found that replacing long periods of sitting with standing help prevent weight gain.
A new study has found that replacing long periods of sitting with standing help prevent weight gain. Getty Images

The health risks of standing all day have been well documented in many recent studies. However, new U.S. research has found that standing instead of sitting could all help prevent weight gain, and even help promote weight loss.

Carried out by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the new study analyzed results from 46 studies with a total of 1,184 participants to look at whether standing burns more calories than sitting.

READ MORE: Sitting all day at work? Get up every 30 minutes to cut your risk of death

The results showed that standing burned 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting, and so by substituting standing for sitting for six hours a day, a 65 kg person would expend an extra 54 calories a day.

If there was also no increase in food intake, then this would equate to a loss of 2.5 kg in one year and 10 kg in four years.

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The team added that the energy expenditure produced by standing could be even greater than shown in the study, as in the study participants were standing still whereas in reality people often make small movements while standing.

WATCH: Sitting all day can lead to serious health problems: study

“Our results might be an underestimate because when people stand they tend to make spontaneous movements like shifting weight or swaying from one foot to another, taking small steps forward and back. People may even be more likely to walk to the filing cabinet or trash bin,” commented senior author Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez.

READ MORE: Just 2.5 hours of activity per week can be beneficial — even doing household chores

As well as linking prolonged sitting to obesity, previous studies have also found a relationship between sedentary behavior and health problems such as cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, with Professor Lopez-Jimenez also adding that, “Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.”

Although the team noted that more research is needed to see whether standing could be an effective and practical strategy for weight loss, as well as to gather more data on the long term health implications of standing for long periods, Professor Lopez-Jimenez concluded that, “It’s important to avoid sitting for hours at a time.”

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READ MORE: Want to improve your overall health? Standing while working could help

“Standing is a very good first step — no pun intended — to avoid this mindset of sitting interminably without moving. Who knows, it may also prompt some people to do a little more and take up some mild physical activity, which would be even more beneficial.”

The results can be found published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.