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Do You Burn Calories With a Standing Desk?
Work Wellness

Do You Burn Calories With a Standing Desk?

|Jul 25, 2023

One of the biggest reported benefits of a standing desk is that standing all day is much healthier than sitting for eight hours. For most people, being able to burn calories with a standing desk is a good tradeoff for being on your feet all day. However, do all those burned calories equate to weight loss?

It does sound good right? All you have to do is stand up and the weight you’ve been fighting to get rid of just slides off. However, how many calories burned at a standing desk equals meaningful weight gain? Do standing desks really contribute that much to weight loss?

How Does Standing Help Us?

At first glance, standing doesn’t seem to do anything for our weight loss. After all, you are just standing still with maybe some minimal arm or leg movement. Now, calories burned by standing desk, it burns anywhere from 100 to 200 calories per hour, while sitting at your L-Shaped standing desk tends to burn only 60 calories.

Whenever you are on your feet, you get your muscle mass going, and even if you do something as minimal as stretch your legs or tap your foot, that expends energy. All of those little movements, plus the activated muscle mass, can get calories burned with standing desks than when you sit.

Yet, is it enough to lose weight? While standing might not replace the gym, it could still be something right?

Here's a table comparing the estimated calorie burn of different activities typically performed at a standing desk compared to a sitting desk:

ActivityCalories Burned (Sitting)Calories Burned (Standing)Description
Typing/Writing80-100 kcal/hour100-130 kcal/hourLight activity, minimal movement involved
Reading/Researching70-90 kcal/hour90-110 kcal/hourLow physical effort, but slightly higher when standing
Phone Calls80-100 kcal/hour100-140 kcal/hourMore movement possible when standing, especially if pacing
Video Conferences75-95 kcal/hour95-120 kcal/hourSimilar to other low-activity tasks, with slight increase when standing
Light Desk Work80-100 kcal/hour100-130 kcal/hourIncludes various tasks such as organizing papers, light computer work
Moderate Desk Work85-105 kcal/hour110-150 kcal/hourTasks that require a bit more movement or energy, such as filing, sorting documents
Intense Desk Work90-110 kcal/hour120-170 kcal/hourMore physically demanding tasks, such as moving equipment, setting up presentations
Fidgeting100-120 kcal/hour120-150 kcal/hourSmall, continuous movements, such as shifting weight, tapping feet, can add up
Walking (slow pace)N/A210-240 kcal/hourWalking slowly while working, using a treadmill desk

How does standing help us

Standing Up Is Very Minor

Even if you use an office desk burn calories, you aren’t going to be melting away your body fat anytime soon. The extra 100 to 200 burned calories might seem like a lot, but in the grand scheme of weight loss, it is barely a drop in the bucket.

It’s like eating one carrot stick for dinner and proclaiming that that is all you need to have a healthy dinner. It’s too small to make a real daily difference and needs to be paired with something more. For losing weight while standing, you need to throw in some more movement.

For example, at your home office standing desk, maybe have a dance party during your breaks and get calories burned with standing desks that way. You could also go for a light walk, do some stretches or yoga, or hit the gym for an hour and do a real workout. Those are the activities that can get your heart rate up and should really start turning that body fat into muscle.

Here's a detailed table showing estimated calorie burn per hour at a standing desk versus a sitting desk, broken down by time spent, gender, and weight, without activity descriptions:

TimeGenderWeightCalories Burned (Sitting)Calories Burned (Standing)
1 hourMale150 lbs90 kcal110 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs85 kcal105 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs110 kcal130 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs105 kcal125 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs80 kcal100 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs75 kcal95 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs95 kcal115 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs90 kcal110 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs100 kcal125 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs95 kcal120 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs120 kcal145 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs115 kcal140 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs85 kcal105 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs80 kcal100 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs100 kcal120 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs95 kcal115 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs90 kcal115 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs85 kcal110 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs110 kcal135 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs105 kcal130 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs95 kcal120 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs90 kcal115 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs115 kcal145 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs110 kcal140 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbs100 kcal125 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbs95 kcal120 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbs120 kcal145 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbs115 kcal140 kcal
1 hourMale150 lbsN/A210 kcal
1 hourFemale150 lbsN/A200 kcal
1 hourMale200 lbsN/A240 kcal
1 hourFemale200 lbsN/A230 kcal

Standing Up is very minor

What Exercises Can You Do to Burn Calories With Standing Desk?

To amend the answer to the question: Do standing desks burn calories more? Yes, if paired with exercise or other movements. Whether you love going to the gym and workout every day or are more of a casual fitness person, here are a few standing desk exercises you can do at your desk.

You can do these during breaks, before lunch, and as a wind down before the day is over. They are also good at fighting post-lunch fatigue as well.

1. Squats

If you are standing all day, being able to bend down and at least pretend that you are sitting down can be a real lifesaver for people. A few simple squats are often enough to bring some feeling back into your legs and can be a quick and easy exercise to do whenever you need to move around.


2. Walking

Simply taking a brisk walk whenever you are at a break or a stopping point can be a good idea. Step away from your desk or computer and walk outside to see your coworkers if you work in an office or go around your house if you are at home. If you really have some time to kill, go outside and walk around for a bit. That way you burn calories and get some much-needed sun exposure at the same time!

3. Push Ups

Here is one of the good way to get standing desk calories burn. Standing desk push-ups offer the perfect incline for you. If you don’t want to do horizontal push-ups on the floor, you can instead brace yourself against the standing desk and do push-ups that way. Inclined pushups can be very beneficial for you, even more so than regular push-ups, and they are much easier too!

Push ups

4. Chair Dips

If your standing desk has an office chair for the occasional sit down, then you can make a few dips into the chair to have some good exercise. It’s best if your chair doesn’t roll when you do this though, as it can cause some real problems. Make sure to always do your dips properly, and you’ll start to reap the benefits!

Standing Is Great, But It Needs More

While a standing desk is better for your posture and overall health when compared to a desk you sit in, it isn’t the body fat buster we all kind of want it to be. Standing burns some calories, but not enough to be effective at causing you to lose a lot of weight. Instead, you should focus on adding workplace exercises to your routine and make sure to live an active lifestyle.

That is what is going to give you some serious bang for your buck in terms of weight loss, and you should feel better too! Whether you do a few pushups after work or hit the gym for an hour, that’s whenever you might see the losses on your waistline!

Standing Is Great, But It Needs More

Upgrade to A Standing Desk

Still, if you believe that those extra 100-200 calories an hour can help you get your weight loss and that every little bit helps, you should upgrade to a standing desk to lose a bit of that extra weight. It can be a bit of a transition, but once you get your body used to standing up while working it can seriously start to burn some extra calories for you.

Pick the right standing desk for you to achive standing desk calories burned, add some exercises and physical activity to it, and then get comfortable watching the number on the scale drop. Who doesn’t love that feeling whenever they weigh themselves?!

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