My previous blog was about the difficulty in maintaining weight loss when chemicals in our environment (PFAs) can cause pounds to return easily. Continuing with that focus on weight loss, here’s a new idea for shedding extra pounds: simply stand more.
A new study from the Mayo Clinic has found that when people stand for six hours per day, they burn an additional 54 calories. That may not sound like much, but it accumulates over time, translating into a loss of 5.5 pounds of body fat over the course of one year, or 22 pounds over four years. Interested now?
This new research follows other well-publicized studies about the health benefits of standing, including the one published in 2015 that found an increased risk of Type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and an early death from any cause, when you sit for prolonged periods of time – even if you also exercise regularly. If the risk of premature death so far hasn’t caused you to take action, maybe increased calorie loss will.
Keep in mind that the extra 54 calories you burn when standing can also be extended by moving around rather than just standing still. You can walk around while talking on the phone, or do a quick set of squats when you’re bored. You can bring in a small set of weights and carry them around with you, or even throw balls of paper into your trash can. All of this will add up to even more calories burned on that particular day.
Researchers caution that standing for long periods of time can have its own negative consequences, like back pain, leg soreness, and blood varicosity that causes circulating blood to pool at your ankles. Those with low blood pressure will also have difficulty standing for long periods of time. However, just getting up and walking around for a minute or two every hour can help, and is doable for people with other health problems that prevent them from exerting themselves too much.
What I like about this particular study is its flexibility. It’s really encouraging to see how even a tiny increase in energy output can have such a positive, long-term effect. I suppose it’s like anything in life. Small steps add up to big changes. So be inspired! If you’re currently struggling with weight loss, try moving around just a little bit more. It all counts.
About the author: Rebecca Wong has an honours degree in English Literature from the University of Waterloo, and has been working in the herbal business since 2000. She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.