by Matt Weik
Lots of people these days sit behind a desk pounding on their keyboards all day. Very rarely do they find time to get up from their desk to walk around – generally they only get up to use the bathroom or have lunch (when they are not eating at the desk). With the advent of the sit-stand desk, the theory behind it is that you can burn more calories throughout the day, along with other health benefits, but are they worth the price?
In terms of claiming that they help control weight by burning more calories, that is actually negligible. According to the University of Pittsburgh, we’re talking about burning 48-57 extra calories each day – nothing to write home about, to be honest. While it is better to burn SOME calories than none at all, if you buy a sit-stand desk to help you lose weight, you will be disappointed.
If you’re looking to spend the hundreds of dollars on that desk, why not save your money and just get up all day, take a short walk to get a drink, go to the bathroom, go to a coworker’s office instead of emailing yourself Stretching in the middle of the day and even using the lunch break for a walk? In addition to these examples, park in the back of the lot and walk instead of parking as close to the office door as possible. Or instead of taking the elevator up and down (if you have one in your office building), take the stairs.
There are minor changes you can make in your daily routine that can result in a decent number of calories burned instead of burning minimal calories by alternating between sitting and standing at a desk.
What about energy levels? This is actually where the purpose has some value. But is the lemon worth the pressure? It has been known that your energy levels suffer when you sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time reduces blood flow to your body, which can lead to cognitive problems that leave you in a mental fog for parts of the day that ultimately affects your productivity. So if you feel like you are slowly lapsing into a full brain fart, the sit-stand desk may be for you. Or keep your beautiful mahogany desk and just get a little more active during the day.
There is no reason to be a slave to your computer all day. If you need to ask someone in your office a question instead of calling them, go to their desk / office and ask them. No employer should expect you to be confined to your office chair all day and not moving from your seat – if you do, consider finding a new job. Otherwise, get up and stretch, move around, and give your brain a short break while increasing blood flow. You will notice your energy levels increase and you will easily feel refreshed and ready to go back to work.
What does the research say?
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh say, “Sit-stand desks are an easy way to increase energy consumption, which fits in with the current US office culture. By combining standing for part of the day with other casual activities – for example, going to the printer farthest from your work area or using the bathroom a few flights of stairs away – you can create a meaningful one Amount of extra energy used during work that could help with weight management. It is important that we understand that standing at work doesn’t burn as many calories as a brisk walk or a long run. However, our results add to a growing area of research showing the benefits of sit-stand desks, including increasing productivity and energy, as well as lowering pain, blood sugar, and possibly blood pressure. “
The message from these researchers seems like they are trying to speak to both sides of their mouths. On one hand, they say the sit-stand desks are an easy way to burn calories, but their research shows that an average of only about 52 calories are burned using the desk per day. Then they throw in that combining the sit-stand desk with some lifestyle changes gives better results – you don’t say?
It almost seems like the University of Pittsburgh research was funded by a company that sells the sit-stand desks based on how back and forth they are with their formulations. Again, if you change certain aspects of your typical work day in the office, you can get far better results than paying for an overpriced computer elevator.
Should You Buy a Sit-Stand Desk?
If you are concerned about burning calories, it will come from the exercise itself and a close look at your diet. Do you snack on trash all day? This is not a problem that any desk will fix. A sit-stand desk isn’t going to take you from 25% body fat to the low teens – that’s not going to happen. Don’t let the marketing behind the products fool you. Generally, if something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Change your lifestyle and keep your hard earned cash in your pocket. By making small changes in your lifestyle and daily routine, not only will you be more productive and energetic throughout the day, but you will also see the needle slowly move to the left on your scale.
B. Barone Gibbs, RJ Kowalsky, SJ Perdomo, M. Grier, and JM Jakicic. Energy consumption of desk work when sitting, standing or changing. Occupational medicine, August 2016 DOI: 10.1093 / occmed / kqw115