January 9, 2013
Office workers can burn an extra 144 calories per day by standing rather than sitting at their desk, says a leading expert on exercise and health. Applying his knowledge of human physiology, Dr John Buckley, from Chester University’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition, has calculated that working at a standing desk for three hours a day will burn eight pounds of human fat in the course of a year, with no change to your job or leisure time activities. Dr Buckley, Reader of Applied Exercise Science in Health and lead Lecturer for the University’s MSc in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, who salvaged one of the University’s old oak lecterns to use as a standing desk said: “This is the perfect way for any office-bound worker to achieve the typical New Year’s resolution of wanting to lose half a stone without changing anything else – how easy is that?”
Dr Buckley’s work as a national leader in physical activity and exercise science has included being part of a special advisory group to England’s Chief Medical Officer. At a key meeting he attended in Whitehall, issues of the workplace design, transport and the built environment (not sport) were designated as key culprits in the cause of obesity.
He added: “In the past 50 years, sports and exercise participation have remained at least the same, so it is sedentary behaviours such as sitting at a desk and nutrition which are the key factors causing the typical annual increase in most people’s waistlines.”
However, you don’t have to resort to using a lectern, as specially designed sit-stand desks are already available in the UK, most notably from Swedish furniture manufacturer Kinnarps which supplies a range of adjustable sit-stand desks. The firm notes that many surveys of how an optimal workplace should be designed have shown that variable work positions mean a lot. Sitting and standing, taking an occasional break and moving about benefits the circulation, increases the supply of oxygen and reduces tiredness.
Dr Buckley says he always tries to make the effort to take the stairs to his office and encourages others to do the same wherever and whenever they can as well: “It’s little changes in behaviour such as this, or standing at your desk, that can add up to make quite a big difference to your health,” he adds.