This Is Exactly How Many More Calories You Burn By Standing at Your Desk

Hint: The number is depressing.

If you’ve resourcefully fashioned a standing desk for yourself out of found materials — magazines, boxes, encyclopedias no one actually uses because the internet exists — around the office in an effort to burn more calories while chained to your desk, I’ve got some depressing news to share with you: A new study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that standing at work only burns eight or nine more calories per hour than sitting.

Womp, womp.

As the New York Times reports, for the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh gathered 74 volunteers and assigned them to four groups, monitoring their energy expenditures to see how many calories they burned: One group switched from sitting while typing for 15 minutes to standing for 15 minutes; the second group went from sitting and watching TV for 15 minutes to walking on a treadmill at a gentle pace for 15 minutes; the third group stood for 15 minutes then sat for 15 minutes; and the fourth group walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes then sat for 15 minutes.

In the end, the researchers founds that for every 15 minutes standing, participants burned about two more calories than they did sitting. Yep: two measly calories. Depressing, we know. But while it looks like a standing desk is not the key to burning off the handful of chocolate you scored from the always-stocked candy bowl at your office’s front desk, a treadmill desk may do the trick: Those who walked burned about three times more calories than when they sat or stood — around 130 more calories per hour.

But this isn’t to say your homemade standing desk is completely useless. After all, sitting is the enemy of health, so at least you’re not doing that for eight hours. Plus, recent research shows standing desks up productivity — by a lot. Just don’t think standing all day means you get to skip the gym after work.

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