People who use standing desks instead of office chairs typically use 12 per cent more energy, a study has claimed.
Researchers from Bath University conducted the study, which suggests avoiding sitting in a chair all day can help people to stop gaining weight.
According to The Times, they found that the muscle groups people who stand use to keep their balance typically eat up a large amount of energy.
James Betts, professor of metabolic physiology at Bath University, who led the study, said: “Prolonged sitting is a major health concern.”
Doctors have previously warned that “sitting-down syndrome” can lead to poor circulation, low lung capacity, obesity and lethargy.
Professor Betts believes standing desks have “the potential… to facilitate effective management of body mass”.
“We showed that standing expends 12% more energy than sitting,” Betts and his colleagues said in a research paper.
His team found that standing all day would burn around 85 calories – roughly equivalent to a sweet snack, such as one McVitie’s milk chocolate digestive biscuit.
In the past, the Health and Safety Executive has warned employers that they have a “general duty to ensure that seating is safe and that it does not pose a health risk to employees”.
Betts warned that although standing at a desk might stave off weight gain, it would not help people to lose weight. Exercise is essential for this.
“The focus should be on regularly interrupting prolonged sedentary behaviours, both sitting and standing still, to insert physical activity that gives your muscles some work to do and adds to your rate of energy expenditure,” he said.