Standing for long periods of time could aid weight loss, finds study

Results from a new study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic suggest that standing for more than six hours during the day could help people lose weight.


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The study, which was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that standing for more than six hours a day, instead of sitting down, helps lower body-mass-index (BMI).

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, the senior author and chair of preventive cardiology at Mayo Clinic, said that sedentary behavior, such as sitting, has contributed to the rising rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes seen across the western world.

Population-based studies report that the daily sitting time of adults in the U.S. is more than seven hours whereas the time ranges from 3.2 to 6.8 hours for European adults.

In order to maintain fitness, lose weight, and to lower the heart disease risk, moderate to vigorous physical activities in daily life have been encouraged in the recent years. However, individuals encounter barriers, such as motivation, time, or access to facilities.

The study involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on the subject, in order evaluate the difference between the calories burned in adults during standing and sitting.

The scientists investigated 46 studies with 1,184 participants, whose average age was 33 years, the average weight was 143.3 pounds in which 60% were men.

Overall, our study shows that, when you put all the available scientific evidence together, standing accounts for more calories burned than sitting."

Dr. Farzane Saeidifard, Co-Author and Cardiology Fellow at The Mayo Clinic.

The researchers found that standing burned more calories than sitting by 0.15 kcals per minute. Therefore, a 143.3-pound adult would burn an extra 54 calories (kcals) in six hours just by standing, which equates to the losing 5.5lbs per year, if there is no increase in daily food intake.

The authors acknowledged the need for further research in the field, to find out whether replacing standing with sitting is effective and to understand the long-term health implications of prolonged standing.

Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)—a concept developed by the Mayo Clinic endocrinologists and obesity researchers—focuses on the daily calories burned by an individual while performing daily routine activities, not exercising.

"Standing is one of components of NEAT, and the results of our study support this theory. The idea is to work into our daily routines some lower-impact activities that can improve our long-term health," said Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

Standing for long periods of time for many adults may seem unmanageable, especially those who have desk jobs, but, for the person who sits for 12 hours a day, cutting sitting time to half would give great benefits."

Dr Lopez-Jimenez, Co-Author and Cardiologist at The Mayo Clinic.

By assessing the study outcomes, the researchers also found that the difference in the calories burned between standing and sitting in men is about twice as high as in women.

This is due to men having a greater muscle mass, allowing them to burn more calories whilst standing.

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