Increase Your Energy with a Standing Desk
by Kenny Rhoads
The basic science behind how a standing desk can give you more energy is pretty obvious, despite how vague such statements might sound at first. A number of factors contribute to your feelings of energy and sluggishness throughout the day, but physical fitness, health, and your metabolism are at the top of the list. And a standing desk can passively improve all three of these factors while you work.
If you change your habits at work and start spending half of your eight-hour day standing, you will burn 25% more calories during that time standing. Even if there were no other changes at all to your body, meaning changing your activity patterns had no impact on your internal physiology – it obviously does – you’d still burn somewhere around 100 extra calories a day. That’s not a lot, but if you do that for a year, that’s 25,000 calories burned. Some really inexact math suggests that’s between seven and nine pounds. And when you cut down on fat and weigh less, you have more energy.
There’s also a distinct impact on your metabolism itself. Researchers call it the “physiology of sitting.” When you spend hours a day sitting for years, your body changes and produces less energy. For example, when in use, muscles release certain proteins that play an important part in regulating and encouraging fat consumption. When you’re sitting, your leg muscles and core don’t do anything, so sitting decreases the presence of these proteins. A lot of other things happen, many of which parallel this chance, but the basic result is that your body stops being efficient at turning the food you eat into energy that your muscles will burn right away, and instead either leaves it as fat, converts it to fat, or converts a lot less of it to readily useable energy.
The effects of your body’s increasing inability to turn food into energy and consume it efficiently, which is basically what the word metabolism refers to, are far-reaching. One of the most relevant for how a standing desk gives you energy is that, unsurprisingly, a lower metabolism makes you feel like you have less energy. Because you literally do.
A slower metabolism, or the opposite, the return to a healthier metabolism from a standing desk, impacts your body throughout the day. Just as when you go for a run or work out your metabolism remains elevated for hours afterwards and contributes to a generally higher ability to burn calories efficiently, so too does sitting too much have the opposite effect. And this leads to more fat and less efficient muscles, which brings up the first point again, about how being less fat, healthier, and more fit gives you energy.
It’s a simple thing to say that standing at a height adjustable sit to standing desk will give you more energy and bring clarity and focus to your work. But now you have a basic idea of why standing for a few hours instead of sitting will literally change the way your brain feels while you work.