How Many Calories Are Burned with Standing Desk?

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Standing desks are once considered novelties, but they are now used at offices as healthier solutions to a long sit.

People believe that calories burned at standing desk are enough to support a healthy lifestyle. While standing is more exhausting than sitting, the question remains: Is it true that using a standing desk burns more calories than sitting?

The general argument behind “standing burns more calories” came from the activity details. Standing uses extra muscle mass to support your weight and keep you balanced.

People tend to move more when they stay in a standing position, such as walking around. There are also small movements that contribute to calorie burning, such as small feet taps, fidgeting, and many more.

Generally, sitting burns around 60 to 130 calories per hour, while standing burns 100 to 200 calories during the same amount of time.

These are general numbers based on regular calculations on regular sitting and standing activities, without counting other factors, such as the activity details, age, sex, calorie intake, and many more.

So, does this mean you can ditch the gym membership by buying a standing desk? Is having this desk a good investment? Make sure you read more about the facts behind sitting and standing before ordering your first standing desk.

Calorie Burning between Men and Women

The average men have different amounts of calories burned every day by standing compared to women.

One of the causes is the higher level of muscle mass amount of men, which makes them burn more calories than women. The average weights also contribute to the amounts of calories burned behind the standing desk.

If you compare an average man (5 feet, 9 inches) and woman (5 feet, 4 inches) in an eight-hour office job, you will get different calculations of calorie-burning based on their weights.

If they weigh 120 pounds each, the man will burn around 543 calories after eight hours, while the woman burns around 484 calories.

Remember, these are rough calculations. Other factors can contribute to the calculation. For example, older people tend to burn fewer calories than younger people because they usually have smaller muscle mass.

Can Standing at Work Replace Exercise?

The short answer: no.

However, you can add standing as one of the efforts to burn extra calories every day. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a healthy person should stand at least two hours per day, especially his or her lifestyle is mostly sedentary. It helps to reduce the health risks associated by sitting too long, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

If you stand at least two hours per day (such as when using a standing desk), you can burn around 5,000 calories every year. You can increase the numbers by combining the standing with a healthy lifestyle.

Tips to Burn More Calories when Standing

When using a standing desk, you can make several efforts to burn extra calories. Here are some examples.

1. Fidget or Move the Legs

Adding some small movements such as fidgeting or slightly moving the legs can increase the amounts of calories burned.

You can mimic the slight walking movements with your legs while standing (soles are planted to the ground). Shift your waist a little whenever you bent a leg.

2. Add Proper Stretching Moves

Have you ever been advised to stretch your arms and legs when sitting in a long time? You can do similar things when standing, but with slightly different movements.

Stretch your legs beside and behind your body. Do several lunges with your back in a straight position. These moves will keep your joints limber and add the amounts of calories burned.

3. Walk Around

Walk around the office
Walk around the office

Make sure to take a break from your standing position every hour or so. Walk around, stretch, and drink some water.

Aside from burning more calories, taking a break by walking around keeps your muscles limber, your blood circulation smooth, and your mind focused.

These small efforts are quite useful to apply in daily life. However, if you want to get more serious benefits from your standing desk, follow the actual standing exercises.

5 Simple Exercises to Do at Standing Desk

Give yourself a healthy break and burn more calories when using a standing desk. Here are several simple exercises you can do every day at work.

1. Legs Extension

This simple exercise stretches your entire legs and strengthens your core. You can also mix it with arms extended.

  • Stand upright with your legs closed. Keep the back straight and draw belly button in.
  • Inhale and lift your heels, so you stand on the tippy toes. Raise your arms to add more movements.
  • Hold for three seconds. Exhale and return to the regular standing position.
  • Repeat ten times (one set).
  • Repeat for two or three sets.

2. Simple Squats

Simple squats while working
Simple squats while working

Squats are simple but effective. They can strengthen your legs and firm your gluteus muscles.

  • Stand against the standing desk with both hands on the desktop.
  • Open the legs slightly (shoulder-width apart). Keep the back straight and knees relaxed.
  • While inhale, draw the belly button and bend the knees until the backside points downward.
  • Keep the knees in a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Don’t squat too low or high.
  • Repeat ten times (one set).
  • Repeat for two or three sets.

3. Arm Raising (with Water Bottles)

Simple arm raising movements can burn extra calories if you add small weights. Use two water bottles with the same weights to include in your arm exercise.

  • Stand with your back straight and belly button inward.
  • Start by holding one water bottle on each hand.
  • Lift both arms until they are shoulder-height (keep them straight).
  • Continue upward until both water bottles meet.
  • Repeat ten times (one set).
  • Repeat for two to three sets.

4. Bicep Curls

Use the water bottles to perform simple bicep curls. 

  • Stand straight while holding a water bottle on each hand.
  • Extend your arms slightly forward. Keep them straight.
  • Inhale and slowly bring the bottles toward your biceps (draw the belly button in).
  • Slowly lower the bottles to the original positions (keep the elbows close to the body).
  • Repeat ten times (one set).
  • Repeat for two to three sets.

5. Stationary March

The stationary march is a simple but effective cardio exercise, which you can perform based on your physical ability and workplace condition.

  • Start by standing straight with shoulders wide, hands beside the body, legs slightly apart.
  • Draw the belly button in and start marching in place.
  • Make sure to lift the thighs, so they are parallel with the floor.
  • Add extra movements by swinging your arms like when you are walking (elbows close to the body).
  • Raise the knees a little bit higher to burn extra calories.
  • If possible, improve the march by doing small stationary jogging.

You can do these exercises before using the standing desk and every two or three hours. Don’t forget to drink water to prevent dehydration.

Standing Desk Equipment to Support Your Health

Just like other types of “exercise,” using a standing desk requires extra equipment if you want to maximize the health benefits and calorie burning.

Here are several products to buy and pair with your standing desk.

Supportive Shoes

Pick the right shoes to wear at work
Pick the right shoes to wear at work

Supportive shoes give you an extra cushioning when standing for a long time. These shoes usually have thick soles, often with memory foam.

They also provide better supports for your legs when you do exercises in a standing position.

Anti-fatigue Mat

Anti fatigue mat
One of the best seller anti fatigue mat available on Amazon

Anti-fatigue mat is made of supportive, cushioning material, such as rubber.

A high-quality mat not only reduces the pressure on your feet but also support your knees and hips. A good mat should have a non-slip surface to prevent workplace risks.

Cycle Desk Pad

A mini exercise cycle from DeskCycle that you can put under your desk
A mini exercise cycle from DeskCycle that you can put under your desk

Many expensive standing desks are constructed with a treadmill or exercise cycle, allowing you to exercise while working.

However, if such a product (or modification) is too expensive, choose a mini treadmill pad or mini exercise cycle. This fitness equipment is easy to install, and you can store it quickly after use.

Mini Desk Elliptical

Desk elliptical is the smaller version of the elliptical machine. Instead of a bulky machine, this elliptical only consists of the feet pedals and their supporting features (including an indicator screen).

You can use this machine to workout while working in front of the standing desk.

Final Thoughts

Standing burns slightly more calories than sitting in the same amount of time.

However, determining the number of calories burned at standing desk is not easy. You need to consider factors such as sex, weight, health condition, age, and calorie intake.

You can increase the results by buying the right equipment and doing specific exercises while standing.

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