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How Many Calories Can You Burn with a Standing Desk?

How Many Calories Can You Burn with a Standing Desk?

There are a lot of effective ways to burn calories. Hitting the gym for a weight session, going for a run, or even taking a gentle stroll all burn energy and help you stay healthy and fit.

Sitting, as we’ve previously discussed a number of times, is not a great way to stay healthy and fit. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular issues, and a decline in your mental health.

This is where the standing desk becomes quite attractive. They get you out of your office chair and onto your feet without compromising your productivity.

Here’s what you need to know about a standing desks ability to burn calories, how to get the most out of your desk, and other ways to stay fit while working in an office.

Do You Burn More Calories with a Standing Desk?

The short answer is yes! You burn a few more calories standing at a standing desk than you would be sitting down all day long.

Height Adjustable Electric Standing Desk with Bamboo Top

Standing requires your body to be more active and present. When you sit, you can relax your entire body and still maintain some semblance of productivity throughout the day. It would be very difficult to stand in a relaxed manner and still get things done.

You’re also spending more time on your feet, which could lead to doing more activity when you aren’t working. Think about it; it’s much easier to want to walk around and do something active when you’re already standing than when you’re sitting down in a super comfy chair.

As a bonus, standing desks also encourage you to maintain a better posture. It’s difficult to slouch while standing, so your lower back won’t suffer as much pressure and pain.

There are also studies that suggest standing increases productivity. Which means you can burn more calories, have a healthier back, and get more work done all at the same time. Sounds like a good deal to us!

How Many Calories Can You Burn with a Standing Desk?

Burning paper writing word Calories

Standing burns about 10 percent more calories per hour than sitting. The average person burns around 80 calories an hour while seated and about 88 calories an hour while standing.

That may not sound like a lot initially. What’s an eight calories difference going to do, right? To start, all those calories add up. If you stand for X amount of hours a day, for X amount of days a week, you’ll slowly begin to increase the average amount of calories you burn.

Calories burnt is also a way to measure how active you’re being, even if you aren’t trying to lose weight. Walking burns around 210 calories per hour, so it’s clear that walking is a much more active activity than standing or sitting down all day long.

Therefore, standing (rather than sitting) is a better way to spend a few hours everyday. It’s certainly not as active as going for a run or doing a HIIT workout, but it does wake your body up and give your metabolism a little boost.

How to Use a Standing Desk Properly to Burn More Calories?

Woman working at a Standing Desk at home

Before we talk about how to use a standing desk to burn more calories, we need to go over the basics of using one of these desks. Standing desks can be a great way to improve your health, but you need to use them properly to take advantage of their benefits.

How Often to Stand

It may be tempting to set your standing desk up and try to spend your first day entirely on your feet. You know how to stand, so why not just jump into it, right?

Man working with laptop and a clock on standing desk

One of the biggest mistakes people who are new to standing desks make is spending too much time standing. It’s recommended that you begin only standing 30 to 60 minutes a day and slowly work your way up.

Not everybody has the same level of fitness, so you need to gauge how much standing you can handle. The last thing you want is to accidentally hurt yourself because you didn’t ease into the desk slow enough.

You may also want to wear supportive shoes, especially if you’re standing on firm hardwood floors or concrete.


Posture is just as important while standing as it is when sitting. Not standing correctly can result in chronic pain or discomfort.

a man using standing desk for office work

Your legs should be hip-width apart and your feet should be gently grounded into the floor. You want to feel secure and balanced while standing, so avoid leaning to one side or putting an unevenly distributed amount of weight on your body.

When it comes to your spine, it should be straight and aligned. Try not to hunch over or lean back too much!

Finally, your shoulders and head should be held up tall and proud. This will keep you from developing any neck pain.

Burning More Calories While Standing

The best way to boost the amount of calories you burn is to move more! You could incorporate a gentle sidestep movement when replying to emails, or do a few squats every time you accomplish a task.

Woman do light exercise while working at standing deskThe key is to find a simple exercise or movement that you know you can perform regularly. Running a mile each time you file an expense report isn’t realistic (unless you aren’t getting very much done), but stomping in place for a minute every hour is!

Desk push-ups are a fun way to activate and build your upper body without any extra equipment. Put your palms on the edge of your standing desk and stiffen your body diagonally. From here, you can lower yourself until your chest touches the desk then push yourself back up.

If you’re a fidgeter, you might be burning more calories than your non-fidgeting coworkers! Tapping a foot or wiggling your fingers keeps your blood circulating and your heart pumping. However, if you find fidgeting is becoming a burden and makes standing still nearly impossible, you may want to talk to a medical professional.

When incorporating any of these techniques into your day-to-day routine, remember to key an eye on your posture and the amount of time you’ve been standing. There’s no use trying to burn more calories if you’re damaging your body by pushing its limits.

Ways to Sit That Burn Calories

Let’s say standing isn’t a viable option for you, or you just want another way to stay active while working. Here are a few ways to continue to burn calories while seated at a desk.

Exercise Ball

Girl sitting straightly on a swiss ball

Not only is the idea of an exercise ball fun, it does wonders for your core and heart. Focus on stabilizing yourself on an exercise ball and gently bouncing for a bit of cardio throughout the day.

Want a challenge? Try to lift one leg off the ground while keeping the rest of your body stable. This will help strengthen your core and improve your balance. Make sure to maintain proper posture when sitting on the ball since it will be hard to sit upright if you don’t.

Gentle Leg Movements

When sitting in a traditional office chair, try to incorporate some gentle leg movements. You could shuffle yourself from side to side (if this isn’t too distracting), or gently lift one leg off the ground at a time.

Rotating your ankles will keep your joints warm and stretching your legs will wake up your knees and leg muscles. Try to avoid crossing your legs as this can hinder circulation and puts an unbalanced amount of weight on your hips.

Getting Up

Two women working at Standing Desk in office

Have a couple of minutes before your next call? Get up and go for a little walk!

You don’t even need to leave the office. You could walk to the toilet or go make a beverage, anything that gets you on your feet and moving. By doing this, you’ll find that you don’t feel as lethargic and sore at the end of the day.

Calories Aren’t Everything

Yoga training to promote good posture and mental health

We cannot talk about burning calories without mentioning that calories aren’t everything. You should not obsess over how much energy you burned doing a tiny task. If you find yourself obsessing over each tiny movement you’ve done in a day, you may need to take a step back and prioritize your mental health.

The information we’ve provided above is meant to highlight the benefits of a standing desk, not guilt you into never taking a seat again.


Standing desks burn more calories than traditional desks, but you do need to know how to stand properly to take advantage of their benefits. Good posture is important in any situation, especially when you’re standing at a standing desk.

We also recommend looking into the other ways you can burn calories while at work. Our personal favorite is the exercise ball, but everyone has their own preferences!

Do you like to try to stay active at work? What’s your preferred method of movement during office hours? We’d love to know all about it in the comments below!

Stay healthy, moving, and happy.

Good luck!