If we told you there was a way to get fitter, lose weight and even strengthen muscle by doing pretty much nothing, would you believe it? Well, yes, you probably would as the headline clearly gives away standing as the secret.

Time for some science. According to research bods at Get Britain Standing sitting is bad for your health. Yup, even when you're not in front of Netflix stuffing your face all weekend. Sitting activates a hibernation-like reaction in your body. This means your body wants to store fat and generally do nothing. Also sitting can be bad for your back, especially when hunching over a computer.

Sitting has even been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health.

By standing more, as most activity trackers now try to make you do, health can be improved. A recent study by Get Britain Standing and the British Heart Foundation found you burn 50 calories more an hour by standing – that’s around 2.4kg of weight burned off a year by standing for just 30 minutes a day.

But in reality you're probably sat reading this right now. Standing all day might not be an option when in the office, or so you think. It is possible.

So how can you use technology to help you reap all the benefits of simply standing while still living your normal life?

The stand-up desk is an easy way to keep working without folding yourself into a chair all day. Many offices will pay for you to upgrade your desk if you make it clear this is a health issue you want tackled.


If you go for a fully electric desk that moves the entire platform it's going to cost a fair bit, with many starting at around the £700 mark. But there are cheaper alternatives.

Stand-up desks which sit on top of your current desk, and extend so you can stand, are as cheap as £30. That said, we'd recommend spending at least £100 for a decent one. You don't want to go for health only to end up buried under your desk and computer.

We've been working standing for the last few months and have noticed increased energy levels, weight loss and best of all an ability to eat even more lovely food every day. That and the whole avoiding heart disease thing. We found the VariDesk Pro Plus impressive, although that's about £300.

Of course if you're at home and on a laptop you could simply put in a deep shelf somewhere in the house and work from there.

Wearable activity trackers are readily available now and can be picked up for as little as £60 for a Garmin Vivofit or Fitbit flex, for example. Many of these not only show you your step count but also alert you when you've been stagnant for too long.

READ: Best activity trackers: The best fitness wearables to buy today


Being motivated to move, whether it's to stand or walk more, is a good thing. Having that motivating number or alert right on your wrist helps take the load off your will power as all you need to do is react. Be healthy or don't, a simple choice.

Alternatively there are many activity apps for smartphones that do the same job.

When it comes to a lunch break rather than moving from one seat to another, try one of these apps to squeeze in a run before rewarding yourself with lunch.

Pocket-lintCouch to 5k

It means more upright fitness but at a slightly more intense level, to help get you even healthier. This should also help standing normally seem as rewarding as sitting, presuming you're running hard enough.

If you're new to the fitness lark there are plenty of "couch to 5K" apps. These ease you into running by offering a run schedule that aims to get you built up to a 5 kilometre run in a certain time. iPhone has 5K Coach App, Android has RunDouble C25K and Windows Phone offers Total Couch to 5K.

Check out more on this in our Couch to 5K run: Best apps and wearables to get you fit, feature.

We found that after the first day or two of working standing up you don't even notice you're doing it. That's when finding a new level to aim for comes in. This is where a simple balance board can help.


Balance boards are cheap at about £10, as they should be for what is essentially a bit of plastic. It's round and shaped so you can stand, with grip to remain attached. But it takes balance to stay that way. The board is on a rounded ball-like centre that forces your body to work harder to stay upright.

It's not hard, but it gets more difficult over time – time which is spent strengthening muscles and improving your balance. And yes it'll mean burning even more calories so you can eat even more awesome food.

If you want to make standing at work an even more intense source of fitness you can throw in a stepper. Either an actual step like those found in gyms, from about £20, or a stepper machine from about £30.

Both can be used without needing to look away from your computer if you're at the desk and both will improve strength, balance and burn calories.

Since you're standing you can do a few air squats every now and then to get the blood flowing. This also helps work your core and entire legs for improved strength.

Be sure to check YouTube for a proper squat technique as this done correctly can really improve health. But done wrongly it can put unnecessary strain on the knees. Five or ten squats every hour or so will build you up so you notice a difference in your fitness very quickly indeed.

READ: Couch to 5K run: Best apps and wearables to get you fit