Jennifer Rothman
Jennifer Rothman

Jennifer Rothman is a copywriter and columnist, specializing in delivering informative content you can trust.

Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Centimeter and calculator isolated on white background

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can come with its health issues. But is its alternative; standing, any better?

Standing at a desk can offer you certain cardiovascular and skeletal benefits. However, unbeknownst to many, it also increases the amount of calories you burn, as you can see from the below calculator. This calculator highlights the difference in calories burnt through per hour, whether you are sitting or standing. The calculator aims to show you what you can achieve by standing and its goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Standing vs Sitting – Q&A

Standing or Sitting – How Many Calories Do They Burn?

Whether they stand or sit, each individual will burn a different amount of calories based on their BMI score (Body Mass Index). The National Institutes of Health states that in an hour the average person of around 170ibs burns:

  • 134 calories sitting
  • 206 calories standing
  • 296 calories walking
  • 341 calories walking briskly

Males and females of different weight ranges will burn different amount of calories, here are some examples:

Average female of 5’4 – Calories burnt

8 hours of sitting vs 4 hours sitting + 4 hours of standing

Weight          Only Sitting          Sitting & Standing        Extra Calories Burned     
100                       439                                 668                                 229
140                       499                                 761                                 262
180                       560                                 854                                 294
220                      621                                  947                                 326
260                      682                                 1040                                358

Average male of 5’9 – Calories burnt

8 hours of sitting vs 4 hours sitting + 4 hours standing

Weight           Only Sitting              Sitting & Standing         Extra Calories Burned
140                        568                                865                                  297
180                        655                                998                                  343
220                        742                                1,131                                 389  
260                       829                                1,264                                435
300                       917                                 1,397                                480

According to health professionals, the average person burns up to 350 calories more per day if they’re moving more, which further reinforces the statistics.
When standing at a desk, you are simply never still. During the course of a day you will shift your weight, dance, you stretch or lean. All those activities, and many others, will burn more calories than standing.

Does Constant Standing Benefit Your Health?

Standing has various health benefits, such as helping with back pain, exercise and lowering your chances of diabetes. However, it also has its limits. Prolonged standing, just like sitting, can place too much stress and strain on your body, causing a different set of health issues.
Instead of simply sitting or standing during the day, you should try to get a good mixture of the two. The combination should be ideal for your health.

You can jazz up your day by adding different movements while you stand or sit, such as stretches or rotations on balance board. These could also improve your concentration during the workday, as well as your health.

Should I Stop Sitting Immediately?

When you plan to transition from sitting to standing, it should not be a complete transition. Additionally, it should not be immediate.
A good way to start is to stand for 3 periods in an hour, maybe only 5 minutes each time. This will help to break up the long periods of sitting, improve your blood flow and you will burn more calories.

If you want there are also several apps which can monitor the amount of calories you burn during different periods of the day. These apps will help you decipher the difference in calories burnt between when you sit and when you stand.

Is A Standing Desk Vital For Standing At Work?

Although a standing desk isn’t a necessary piece of equipment for standing at a desk, it is recommended. Alternatively, you could also convert some of your office or home equipment in to a standing desk converter. If you choose not to use a standing desk whilst working stood up, it could be bad for your health. This is because it would promote bad body posture as well as forcing you to stand in a certain position for long periods of time. This would place strain on some of your bodies muscles.



Jennifer Rothman
Jennifer Rothman is a copywriter and columnist, specializing in delivering informative content you can trust. Since graduating from Villanova University, she’s worked with top brands across the fashion, beauty, and health and wellness space to reach global audiences. Eager to share her expert knowledge of the wellness industry, Jennifer continues to craft reliable content that engages readers through the art of storytelling.