For a 155-lb person, the difference of 50 calories burned per hour between sitting, standing, and walking can translate to a loss of up to 20 lbs. in a year. Companies can benefit through increased productivity as more employees stand at work. A study evaluated 1000 employees of a company which made the change to stand-up desks. The company saw a 7.9% increase in productivity, which saved an estimated $7 million per year. The same company saw workers compensation drop from $1.2 million to under $100,000 in the first year after making the switch to standing desks.
Sitting for more than an hour has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipase activity (an enzyme involved in fat metabolism) and in glucose metabolism that leads to the deposit of fats in adipose tissue rather than being metabolized by muscle.
A study examining the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over 13 years found that those who sit for most of the day were 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.
A 2010 study found that when healthy men limited their number of footsteps by 85% for two weeks, they experienced a 17% decrease in insulin sensitivity, dramatically raising their diabetes risk.
A total of 141,210 colon cancers and 230, 480 breast cancers were reported in 2011. It is estimated that about 30% of the colon cancers, nearly 43,000, could be prevented with activity. About 21% of breast cancers, nearly 49,000, might be avoided.
Sitting for extended periods of time contributes to increased pain and fatigue, particularly with age. Standing can help alleviate joint pain, functional musculoskeletal problems, and sports-related injuries by increasing mobility, improving blood flow, and reducing stiffness often caused by inactivity.
A U.S. study which tracked 123,000 Americans found that those who spent more than 6 hours sitting per day had a 20% higher chance of death than for men who spend less than 3 hours sitting per day. For women, the difference was 40%.