Want to Lose that Last 5 Pounds? Just Stand There

We’ve gotten the message that too much sitting is bad for our health and that standing is good medicine. New research shows its good for our waistline, too. Doctors at Mayo Clinic found that standing instead of sitting for 6 hours a day can lead to a 5 lb weight loss over the course of a year.

We’ve gotten the message that too much sitting is bad for our health and that standing is good medicine. And now, new Mayo Clinic research shows standing is good for our waistline, too.

Ask any Pam or Jim and they'll confirm it: Life at the office can leave many of us feeling chained to our chairs. And while that may sound good for the bottom line, it's not so good for our bottom lines. Research has linked sedentary behavior — including too much sitting — to a number of health risks, including obesity and heart disease. A new study from Mayo Clinic suggests one solution. As the New York Post reports, "Scientists say that dropping weight could be as simple as pushing aside your chair."

According to the paper, Mayo researchers "found that standing burns 0.15 calories per minute more than sitting." And while that number may not seem worth the effort, "scientists insist that it adds up. For example, if you typically sit for six hours a day and trade that out for standing time, that's an extra 54 calories burned daily." Over time, those missing calories could lead to a 5 pound weight loss each year. (Now we're standing at attention.)

"Our research adds to what is already known about the problems of sitting too long," says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., senior author of the study and chair of Preventive Cardiology at Mayo Clinic. The discovery that standing burns more calories than sitting "has some implications for long-term weight control, and it has some potential to be used in weight control strategies," Dr. Lopez-Jimenez tells the Los Angeles Times.

If you're still hanging on to your holiday weight gain and want to build more burn into your workday, one option is switching to a standing workstation. Dr. Lopez-Jimenez is a big fan, according to the Times. But the paper warns that "once researchers and public health advocates get you up out of your chair, they're unlikely to stop there." Walking meetings, light weight lifting and fitness breaks are sure to follow. (Where have we heard that before?)

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