When you stand, you burn anywhere from 100 to 200 calories an hour. It all depends on your sex, age, height, and weight. Sitting, by comparison, only burns 60 to 130 calories an hour.

Think about how fast that adds up! You could burn anywhere from 120 to 210 more calories just by swapping three hours of sitting for standing.

While this may not help you lose a significant amount of weight, it can certainly help you maintain your current weight and reduce certain health risks. Read on to learn more.

The following charts detail how many calories the average person could burn if they alternate between sitting and standing during a typical eight-hour workday.

Note that males generally burn more calories because they typically have greater muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the faster you generally burn calories.

Chart for the average American female

The following chart details the total calories burned over an eight-hour workday for a 20-year-old female who is 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

Weight (pounds)Calories burned after 8 hours of sitting Calories burned after 4 hours of sitting and 4 hours of standing Difference in calories burned over 8 hoursDifference in calories burned per hour
10045369123829.75
12048473725331.625
14051478427033.75
16054583028535.625
18057587730237.75
20060692331739.625
22063696933341.625
240667101634943.625
260697106236545.625
280727110938247.75
300758115539749.625

Chart for the average American male

The following chart details the total calories burned over an eight-hour workday for a 20-year-old male who is 5 feet, 9 inches tall.

Weight (pounds)Calories burned after 8 hours of sittingCalories burned after 4 hours of sitting and 4 hours of standingDifference in calories burned over 8 hoursDifference in calories burned per hour
10050076226232.75
12054382828535.625
14058789530838.5
16063196133041.25
180674102735344.125
200718109437647
220761116039949.875
240805122742252.75
260849129344455.5
280892136046858.5
300936142649061.25

How to calculate how many calories you burn a day

The charts above use the Harris Benedict Equation to determine how many calories are burned. This equation takes your height, weight, age, and activity level into account.

The Compendium of Physical Activities assigns a number representing the metabolic equivalent (MET) for activities you perform, which aids in calculating how many calories you burn in a day.

For example, sitting all day would be assigned a 1.5 MET. Walking or working with a treadmill desk is assigned a 2.3 MET.

To determine how many calories you burn a day with the Harris Benedict Equation, you multiply your height, weight, and age by an MET. You can assign a 1.2 for sitting or 2 for standing to determine total calories burned daily.

You can calculate your own daily caloric usage by visiting manytools.org.

Your body burns more calories when you’re moving. Sitting or lying down burns the fewest number of calories.

When you’re on your feet, you activate your muscle mass. This muscle mass helps you burn more calories.

Plus, when you stand, you’re moving your body more. All of those foot taps and stretches can add up over time.

It probably goes without saying that physical exercise burns calories. But your body also burns calories by performing basic functions like breathing and eating.

Your metabolism and the number of calories your body needs for essential functions can change based on your muscle mass, weight, height, and age. The bigger you are, the more calories your body burns per day for these essential functions.

Your age can also factor in to how many calories you burn. Most people lose muscle as they age. The less muscle mass you have, the fewer calories you burn.

In addition to burning calories, standing can reduce your risk of:

It can also minimize lordosis, which is the inward curvature of the spine. Although some degree of curvature is normal, significant curvature can put unnecessary pressure on your spine.

Standing can even build muscle tone. Not only do certain muscles actively engage when moving from seating to standing, they must stay engaged to keep you upright.

As with any body posture, standing for too long can actually do more harm than good.

Researchers in one 2017 study observed 20 adult participants as they completed two hours of lab-based standing computer work.

They found that by the two-hour mark, the participants experienced a weakened mental state, increased swelling in the lower limbs, and overall body discomfort.

However, it’s worth noting that the participants’ creative problem-solving ability improved.

You should exercise caution when standing for long periods of time. It’s important to listen to your body and what it needs.

You may find it helpful to start by adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes of standing time to your day and gradually working your way up from there.

How you add these minutes is up to you. A general rule of thumb is to stand for at least one minute after every 30 minutes of sitting.

After a minute has passed, you may choose to stand longer or resume sitting until another 30 minutes are up.

At work

Here are a few ways you can stand more at work:

  • Try a standing desk versus a sitting desk.
  • Stand up when you take a phone call.
  • Consider having a “stand-up” style meeting instead of sitting.
  • Set a timer to stand for a certain number of minutes every hour.

At home

Standing more at home may require some changes to your routine. Start with these:

  • Talk a walk around the house every half hour or hour.
  • Stand when making a phone call, texting, or using the Internet on your smartphone.
  • Take a nightly walk before engaging in more sedentary leisure time.
  • Watch your favorite television show while standing.

If you have a desk job, talk to your manager or human resources department about swapping your current setup for something more active.

Sit-stand desks, for example, can help reduce your time spent seated. Treadmill desks and cycling desks can also encourage movement while you work.

Proper positioning is the most important part of standing. If you try a standing workstation, make sure that:

  • Your eyes are level with the top of your monitor.
  • Your upper arms are able to rest close to your body.
  • Your hands are able to rest at elbow level or below.

If you experience aches and pains while standing, talk to a doctor or other healthcare professional about your symptoms.

They may recommend one or more of the following aids:

  • Sole inserts. You can add inserts to your shoes to help support your arches. The added cushion can also help minimize fatigue and soreness.
  • Supportive shoes. Investing in shoes already equipped with adequate arch support can also help with overall alignment and balance.
  • Standing pads or cushions. You can place these under your feet to reduce pressure on your knees, feet, and back.

It’s OK if you need to sit for school or work. If you can, look for other places to add standing time in. For example, you may be able to stand on the bus or train during your commute.

Use your best judgment when deciding how long and how often to stand. If you’re unsure of how long to stand or experience discomfort, see a doctor or other healthcare provider. They can help you set a goal tailored to your individual needs.