Dr John Buckley shares his insights into the health benefits of sit-stand working

Dr John Buckley, from The University of Chester’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition, was part of a special advisory group to England’s Chief Medical Officer. At a key meeting he attended in Whitehall, issues of workplace design, (with particular emphasis on the sedentary nature of modern office life), were cited as a key culprit in the obesity epidemic.

Dr Buckley now works at a standing desk and, using his expert knowledge of human physiology, has calculated that just by working in this way for three hours a day, (with no additional changes to his job or leisure time activities) he will burn at least an extra 144 calories per day, compared to just sitting at his desk.

Those 144 or so calories a day translate to 30,000 calories a year, or a whopping eight pounds of human body fat. To put it in perspective, Dr Buckley offers some equivalents:

‘If you stand for three hours a day for five days that's around 750 calories burnt. If you want to put that into activity levels, then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year; just by standing up three hours in your day at work.’ he explains.

As an early proponent of the standing desk, Ernest Hemingway summed it up in his usual forthright manner: ‘Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.’

To maintain a healthy body, standing and being dynamic are far more instinctive than spending our working hours slumped in a chair, as Dr Buckley observes:

"People are sitting down at work, then sitting in the car and then sitting down in front of the television. Your metabolic rate crashes to an absolute minimum. It isn't natural. Humans are designed to stand up and keep moving."