WEIGHT loss can be achieved by standing for longer periods in the day, according to new research. The study suggests that encouraging this behavioural change in people could reduce the prevalence of conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
Significant Weight Loss
Following an analysis of the results from 46 studies with 1,184 participants that observed the effect of standing on weight loss, the researchers estimated that a 65 kg person would lose 10 kg in 4 years by standing instead of sitting for 6 hours a day, assuming there was no increase in food intake. This calculation was made from the finding that standing burned 0.15 kcal more per minute than sitting. The average age of the participant studied was 33 years, their average BMI and weight were 24 kg/m2 and 65 kg, respectively, and 60% were men.
With prolonged sitting heavily linked to obesity, the team believe that standing for longer periods could lead to a reduction in associated conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Senior author Prof Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, USA, commented: “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.”
It is possible that the reduction in weight from standing found by this research could even be an underestimate, because the participants in the studies analysed were standing still, whereas generally people who are standing make extra movements, such as swaying from one foot to another and burning even more calories.
Prof Lopez-Jimenez added: “It’s important to avoid sitting for hours at a time. 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 authors acknowledged that data to understand the long-term health implications, as well as more information about the effectiveness and practicality of extended periods of standing, are needed before any strategies are put in place.
James Coker, Reporter