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3 Benefits of Standing Up While You Work (for those who work a busy desk job)

3 reasons why you should stand up while you work_

Anyone else live in Maryland?

Well, if you do, then you know that Thursday was, like, the hottest day of 2018 (5/03/2018). So far, anyway.

I woke up with the intention of bustin’ my ass on the yoga mat. Then I checked my weather app… 90-fucking-degrees-Fahrenheit.

Edit: Today (Friday) is supposed to be even hotter… 91 degrees at high noon. CRAP.


Well, there goes that workout.

I prepared myself for a hot day seated firmly on my ass, dressed only in a sports bra and shorts.

Then, I had a thought…

What if I typed my blog post standing up?

I had heard from a former supervisor that you burn more calories standing than sitting. Which makes sense, if you think about it.

But is it really all that? Can you skip your workout if you stand up all day?

Welp, I dunno… but there’s no reason why I can’t try it.

So here I am, standing at the center island of my kitchen, smoothie in hand, typing this blog post.

Let’s get started.

Reasons Why You Should Stand Up While You Work…

3 reasons to stand up while you work

1.Being sedentary shortens your lifespan.

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) website, “Americans ages 12 and up now spend most of their time… sitting and doing things that require little energy” (Don’t Just Sit There! [Move for Your Health]).

*Note: I should probably take this time to admit that I did sit down and take a break a few times while writing/editing this article. Just like working out, standing improperly can do more harm than good. Quality over quantity… always take a break over doing a physical activity incorrectly.

But why is sitting too much so bad for you?

Well, according to a different article from, sitting or lying down for too long can decondition your heart. There’s no hard evidence that it leads to cardiovascular disease, however, standing up as opposed to sitting does challenge your heart to work harder, thus encouraging heart health.

The article from NIH then  goes on to say that if you’re “upright and active, even briefly, your body is at work”.

So basically, even if your confined to a cubicle or work desk, you can improve your health simply by standing up and walking around a little bit.

Standing up to stretch every once in awhile has the potential to improve your health… and may even decrease the size of your waist.

Why is this, exactly? Well, when you stand up, your muscles are given the opportunity to resist the force of gravity.

That’s a pretty cool concept, when you think about it. Standing up and walking to the coffee machine is “resisting the force of gravity”. Wild. Now all you have to do is resist the urge to put a ton of sugar in your coffee… because that kind of negates the purpose.

Because your muscles are working against gravity to get you from point A to point B, your metabolism has to pick up the pace to meet the physical demand. You burn calories to supply your muscles with energy, which means your body has fewer calories that it can store as fat.

Plus, like we said before, your heart has to work harder to supply blood to your muscles when they’re working, so you’re potentially improving your overall heart health, too.

2.You can burn about 30 calories just standing for 15 minutes.

Of course, I’m not sure if it’s exact, but if you read my last post you know that my new best friend is Cronometer. I can track my daily values, calorie intake, and exercise.

But I’ve found that so many other apps are pretty limited in the forms of exercise they recognize. If you don’t already have a good idea of how many calories you burn, you’re sorta outta luck.

I’m happy to tell you that when I typed ‘standing’ into Cronometer, SEVERAL forms of light activity popped up, from standing while you shower to doing dishes to grocery shopping.


So I picked “Standing, Miscellaneous” for 15 minutes, which saved me about 32.5 calories!

*Note: I have now stood for another 20 minutes while typing and saved another 42.5 calories… think I’ll have some ice cream later.

3.It helps with back & shoulder pain and stabilize your blood sugar.

Ok, so obviously you burn more calories by standing as opposed to sitting (most likely the reason why I didn’t gain 100 lbs while working as a hostess in a restaurant).

But according to an article from Harvard Health, you’re still better off taking a 30 minute walk for significant weight loss.

The article states that you only burn about 80 cal/hr when sitting, 88 cal/hr while standing. Walking burns a nice 210 cal/hr.

So what’s the point, then? Why even bother?

2 reasons, actually:

  1. Standing normalizes your blood sugar levels, and

  2. If you have back or shoulder pain, standing more often might help.

Let me explain.

Harvard Health article is talking about  the standing desk, which is meant to help you stand while you work instead of sitting. It is an investment, of course, so the article questions whether or not purchasing one would benefit you.

My personally opinion is yes. But here’s what Harvard thinks:

They do talk about the calorie-burning benefits of standing up rather than sitting. However, their perspective (as well as that of is that the evidence supporting standing as a way to combat obesity, heart disease, and diabetes is anecdotal at best.

Basically, it could help you with these things because it’s more active than sitting all day, but don’t think you shouldn’t have to work out just because you start standing all day. A 15-30 minute workout every day (less frequent workouts for 1 hour +) is still ideal.

However, standing up is still a great way to help with posture (if you’re standing up straight) and reduce back & shoulder pain. That, and there are a few studies that suggest standing after a meal normalizes your blood sugar quicker than sitting down.

Ok… so it’s not the Holy Grail. But it’s better than an entire day spent on your bum.

Boo… I guess I’m gonna have to do some yoga after all…

BUT I have done myself a service today. I stood for another 18 minutes while dinner cooked, saving me a total of 113.4 calories without working out, and definitely did some great things for my spine by standing instead of sitting.

And guess what? Best believe I’m gonna eat some ice cream tonight! (The Ben & Jerry’s Coconut Seven Layer Bar and P.B. & Cookies are my current obsessions… what about you?)

Now, the next time you find yourself sitting sedentary for hours and hours at a time, challenge yourself to stand up for a few minutes. You don’t need to overdo it… 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. Don’t exceed 30-60 minutes a day to begin with; you don’t want to overdo it.

Make sure you’re standing up straight. If you do yoga, think of it like doing mountain pose: evenly distributing your weight over your feet with your tailbone slightly tucked, shoulders rolled back, and crown of the head reaching up.

Think you can do it?

Comment your thoughts below! Also, please share this post if you liked it and/or found it helpful.

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Written by Ada


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