When I began reading this BBC News Magazine article, at first I felt a little déjà vu because it started out a lot like our blog post from a couple weeks ago. I must say, I’m quite flattered that they read our humble blog (a blogger can dream!), but I’m also impressed that they took it a step further and conducted their very own health experiment to prove the benefits of standing desks. Brilliant!
“… with Dr John Buckley and a team of researchers from the University of Chester we conducted a simple experiment. We asked 10 people who work at an estate agents to stand for at least three hours a day for a week.” This simple experiment yielded interesting, but not entirely surprising results. The participants managed blood sugar more efficiently, recorded healthier heart rates, burned more calories, and – for at least one woman – reported an improvement in arthritis symptoms.
With Type II Diabetes and heart disease on the rise in the U.S. and abroad, the importance of managing blood sugar can’t be overstated. However, there’s even more to the link between sitting and heart disease; sitting also causes “a sharp reduction in the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down blood fats and makes them available as a fuel to the muscles. This reduction in enzyme activity leads to raised levels of triglycerides and fats in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease.” Just using a standing desk for at least 3 hours a day decreased all of these risk factors for major disease.
The part that really blew me away though? The extra calorie burn they calculated during the experiment. By standing rather than sitting, they deduced that you burn 0.7 more calories per minute… sounds like a big yawn, right? Wrong. When you add it up, that comes to about 50 calories an hour, so “If you stand for three hours a day for five days that’s around 750 calories burnt. Over the course of a year it would add up to about 30,000 extra calories, or around 8lb of fat.” According to Dr. Buckley that’s the equivalent of running about 10 marathons in a year! What??
So, now when my annoying runner friends try to convince me that running is the greatest exercise ever even though I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns, I can just tell them I’m running 10 marathons this year… at my standing desk. Sweet.
Oh, and of course, like the author of the BBC article, I wrote this review while standing at my VARIDESK.