Difference in Caloric Expenditure in Sitting Versus Standing Desks

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Traditional desks require students to sit; however, recently schools have provided students with nontraditional standing desks. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in caloric expenditure of young adults while sitting at a standard classroom desk and standing at a nontraditional standing classroom desk.

Methods:

Twenty (10 male/10 female) young (22.8 ± 1.9 y), healthy participants reported to the laboratory between the hours of 7:00 AM and 2:00 PM following a 12-h fast and 48-h break in exercise. Participants were randomly assigned to perform a series of mathematical problems either sitting at a normal classroom desk or standing at a nontraditional standing desk. Inspired and expired gases were collected for 45-min for the determination of oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), and minute ventilation (VE) using a metabolic gas system.

Results:

There were significant increases from sitting to standing in VO2 (0.22 ± 0.05 vs. 0.28 ± 0.05 L·min−1, P ≤ .0001), VCO2 (0.18 ± 0.05 vs. 0.24 ± 0.050 L·min−1, P ≤ .0001), VE (7.72 ± 0.67 vs. 9.41 ± 1.20 L·min−1, P ≤ .0001), and kilocalories expended per minute (1.36 ± 0.20 kcal/ min, P ≤ .0001 vs. 1.02 ± 0.22 kcal/min, P ≤ .0001).

Conclusions:

Results indicate a significant increase in caloric expenditure in subjects that were standing at a standing classroom desk compared with sitting at a standard classroom desk.

Reiff, Marlatt, Dengel are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

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