Zero-based exercise – stand on the subway

The next zero-based exercise tip takes no time and close to no effort. When riding the subway or a bus for a reasonable distance, stand rather than sit. Our bodies use 17% (I’ll find a reference soon) more calories standing rather than sitting. That may not be a lot, but for zero effort, it’s great!

I do this on the subway in NYC, which also means I don’t have to look for a seat ever, and on buses from the airport to the rental car counter, for example. There’s no need to be silly about it, though: if your feet hurt, take a seat. If you’re on the 1-hour busride commute, take a seat. (However, when it comes to getting on the bus and standing vs. waiting for the next one, I’ll stand for the hour and save the extra 15-20 minutes.

As I said, I’ll look for the references and calculate the calorie difference between the two.

This minor, almost insignificant, change is the heart of the zero-based series. Small changes on the margin are easy to make and add up over time. I don’t think about standing on the subway anymore; I just do it.

1 Comment

  1. Manning on February 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I’m really interested in this. I’ve been trying to improve my balance and stability, so I have been standing and not holding on to anything. It requires slightly bent knees, and a somewhat “wide stance”, and I keep a pole handy for extreme jerks. After my twenty minute ride, my legs are exhausted.

    I would think standing on the train vs. sitting would burn more calories than just plain standing versus sitting from working the stabilizing muscles, but I have no idea how you’d calculate it.