Standing vs Sitting: Which Burns the Most Calories?
It’s been asked, and thus must be answered: standing vs sitting – which burns the most calories?
We’re sure you’re aware that the best way to burn calories is through proper exercise. But you’re asking the question for a reason, and we can only assume that it’s imperative that you know.
So, helpful as we are, we’ll answer the question, so long as you promise to keep in mind that walking around the block is a better alternative to both standing and sitting.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Standing?
150 seems to be a nice round number, so let’s start there. A 150 pound person will burn, on average, 114 calories per hour. If your job requires that you stand all day, you’re going to burn just over 912 calories during your shift, or the equivalent of a Big Mac and a half.
If you’re not employed as a shop window mannequin, you’re going to be walking around a little bit. This is going to burn about an extra 300 calories each day. Feel free to eat two Big Macs.
Let’s say that you’re a preschool teacher and charged with chasing three year old anklebiters all day. Congratulations, you’re a super hero. You’re also burning about 200 calories per hour, or about 1,600 per day.
Do you have a more active job, like a nurse? You’re probably going to be burning around 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day. You can reward yourself with Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal with a large sweet tea and a McFlurry.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Sitting?
Alright, so if you’re sitting all day, you’re probably not watching Man vs Wild reruns and eating Ho Hos. Some desk jobs do require that you sit for extended periods. We understand that, and encourage you to take a brisk walk on your lunch break.
If you’re 150 pounds and sitting at rest, you’re burning about 68 calories per hour. That’s not really equivalent to any McDonald’s food. Maybe a few fries.
But chances are, you’re doing something. Maybe typing or talking on the phone. These activities are going to increase your calorie expenditure to just a smidge over 100 per hour. That’s 800 calories per day, about the equivalent of a Double Quarter Pounder. Just the sandwich.
There are other factors which are going to affect the number of calories you’re burning. Your age, weight and sex are going to play a part. Men burn calories more quickly than do women. Heavier people burn more as well. But, to summarize, you’re going to burn fewer calories sitting than you will standing.
Better Ways to Burn Calories
There are much better ways to burn calories than standing or sitting. There are also much better questions you could ponder in your spare time. If you’re truly looking to burn off the calories you ingested when you consumed your weight in whiskey last night, we’ve already recommended exercise. But which exercise should you do?
We’ll give you a breakdown of some of the best exercises, but must issue the standard caveat first. Before you start any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. Exercise is great for burning Big Macs off, but can be dangerous if not done properly.
Alright, so with that bit of CYA, here are a few of the best exercises for burning calories.
- Running – If you weigh 150 pounds, and run a 7 minute mile, you’ll burn 1,000 calories an hour. Now, that’s not to say that we need you to run for a full hour. Studies show that even 5 to 10 minutes of running each day can have a positive impact on your heart and overall health.
- Walking – Running not for you? Harvard Medical School says that walking for an hour can burn up to 334 calories per hour. That’s at a pace of 13 minutes per mile. In all honesty, most people who walk for exercise walk at a brisker pace than that.
- Gardening – A bit of a homebody? Plant some seeds. Gardening is a nice alternative to traditional exercise, and you’ll burn about the same number of calories weeding your garden as you will walking.
- Sex (especially for men) – Men can burn up to 200 calories per hour and women can burn about 140 calories per hour during sex. The activity is rated somewhere “between walking and running” for its exercise benefits.
Standing vs Sitting: The Verdict
Now you know that standing is going to burn more Big Macs than sitting will. But there are other benefits to standing as well, and some are surprising.
First of all, standing is great for your posture, assuming you’re standing and not slumping against a wall. And improved posture, in turn, is great for your heart health, reduction of tension and it just makes you look better. People with good posture are less likely to have the beer gut appearance, and they look taller.
Secondly, standing as opposed to sitting will help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. It’s also going to help to regulate blood sugar levels in your body. That means that if you stand instead of sit, you’ll be less likely to fall prey to heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Finally, people who stand are more likely to have more energy. More energy usually means more motivation to move, and more movement necessarily means greater caloric expenditure.
Luckily for Americans, the corporate world is jumping on the sitting vs standing bandwagon. Employers are encouraging employees to be more active at work. Look, for example, at the increasing popularity of the standing desk. The desks look uncomfortable as hell, but they’re actually shown to increase productivity and are ergonomically designed.
Alright, so now you know. Standing burns more calories than sitting does, but exercise burns the most. And exercise comes in all shapes and forms. While we encourage you to stand throughout the day, we encourage you even more strongly to get a hobby. Go for a jog or paint your house. Anything is better than sitting.