Standing may be better for your health than sitting, but when it comes to burning calories, the difference is minimal—standing for six (yes, six) hours at work burns a mere 54 extra calories a day.
While that can add up to a weight loss of 5.5 pounds in a year and help prevent middle-age spread, spending six hours standing up isn’t the most efficient way to stay (or get) in shape. We asked Walter Thompson, PhD, of the American College of Sports Medicine and Georgia State University, and Stephen Herrmann, PhD, of Sanford Health for fun and fast ways to burn those 54 calories. Here are nine activities to try with workout times based on a 150-pound person…
- Warm up and cool down. Rethink skipping (or cutting short) the warm-up and/or cooldown part of your exercise routine. Adding a mere three-minute warm-up and a three-minute cooldown to your morning or evening jog burns 54 calories.
- Jump up to jump rope. Need a computer break? Get up from your desk and jump rope. Even if you’re a slow jumper (50 skips per minute), you’ll burn 54 calories in five minutes.
- Walk with weights. If you carry five- or 10-pound hand weights and walk at a moderate pace of 3.5 mph, you’ll burn 54 calories in just 10 minutes. (Without the weights, it will take you 13 minutes.)
- Run in place. This is a quick and easy way to burn off those 54 calories—anywhere and anytime—for just five minutes.
- Take to the stairs between loads of laundry. Try this calorie-burning pattern on laundry day. Throw in a load, and walk up and down the stairs for five minutes. When it’s time to transfer the clothes to the dryer, do the stairs for another five minutes. These 10 minutes of stair-climbing translate to 54 calories.
- Crack open those windows—and start cleaning. Wash the windows around your home for 14 minutes.
- Forget takeout. You’ll get a nutritional boost and calorie-burn boost by cooking your own meal. Just 13 minutes of chopping, stirring and other cooking prep are the perfect recipe for burning 54 calories.
- Get into the game. Instead of watching your kids or grandkids play hopscotch, dodgeball or hula hoop, join in—these playtime activities burn 54 calories in a mere eight minutes. Play vigorously with your dog. Don’t just throw that Frisbee—run along with Fido for 11 minutes.
- Give a massage. It’s better to give than to receive when it comes to the calorie-burning effects of massage—54 calories in 11 minutes. Bonus: You’ll double the calorie burn if your massage is followed by a sexual encounter of 25 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.
A final note on standing at work: Less sitting still may help reduce the known health risks of having a desk job or a job that involves sitting all day. These risks include diabetes, heart disease and an early death. And it may encourage more movement at work. It’s not so much the standing as the not sitting that helps, explained Dr. Thompson. When you ditch the chair, you’re more likely to walk around, and as a bonus, that also will help increase the rate at which you burn calories.