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Sitting Too Much Is Hazardous to Your Health

The human body was designed for movement!

Evidence is accumulating which strongly suggests we spend way too much time sitting every day--which can be harmful to our health. Watch this short video which portrays the hidden risk of sitting too much. Suggestion: stand while you watch it!

PositiveTip: Find a new way each day to be active and avoid too much sitting!

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To Sit or Stand?

Spending a lot of time in chairs increases all-cause mortality.

Most of us spend a significant portion of our day just sitting. Growing evidence suggests this may not be good for our health. Researchers in Australia attached an actigraph monitor to almost 700 participants for more than a week. They found 2 hours spent sitting each day was significantly associated with higher body mass, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol. When participants replaced two hours of sitting each day with stepping, the same biomarkers were significantly improved.

PositiveTip: Fight sedentary lifestyles with intentional physical activity!

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Should You Get a Height-Adjustable Desk?

Sitting for long periods of the day increases risks for major disease.

Do height-adjustable workstations actually encourage people to stand more, and does standing translate to reduced risks? A review of five small studies comparing employees who used height-adjustable desks with those who did not failed to find any differences. The authors stated standing might be only marginally better than sitting and moderate to vigorous purposeful exercise could be more useful.

PositiveTip: Instead of sitting all day, go for a short walk several times per day!

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Too Much Sitting is Not Good for the Heart

Reducing daily sitting time may have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk.

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology 2015 meetings reports there are serious health consequences to 'sitting too much' and this may be different from the impact of not enough exercise. After adjusting for the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, researchers found each hour of daily sedentary time was associated with a 10% higher risk of having increased coronary artery calcium scores

PositiveTip: Reduce your daily sitting time by 1-2 hours for better heart health.

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Any Movement is Good for You

Got a desk job? If you don't move all day, it may nullify your exercise attempts.

Driving, desk jobs and TV has made us a nation of sitters. We've known that's unhealthy, but new research is showing that six hours of continuous sitting affects fitness levels negatively about the same as 1 hour of exercise affects them positively. However, if you move regularly throughout the day, even just shifting in your seat, it's associated with better fitness.

PositiveTip: Take regular "move-breaks": pace on the phone, stand and think, take shorts walks.

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Sitting Increases Risk of Cancer

Exercise will not undo the harm of sitting all day!

Sitting can be fatal! Researchers in Germany did a meta-analysis of 43 observational studies that included more than 4 million people. They found sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk of colon cancer, 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer. The bad news from this study is you cannot exercise away sitting's harmful effects. When adjustments were made for physical activity it did not erase the impact of sitting.

PositiveTip: Keep moving regularly all day long!

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Sitting is a Death Trap

Sitting for more than 6 hours per day increases your risk of premature death.

We have previously reported on the growing evidence that sitting for prolonged periods is a risk factor for serious health problems independent of physical activity. Have a look at the following infographic from IDEA. If you need more convincing on this topic, check out the references at the bottom of the page. 

PositiveTip: Print this infographic and post it by your desk to remind yourself to move regularly during the day.

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Sitting Could Shorten Your Life Expectancy

Limiting time sitting could increase your life expectancy by 2 years!

By analyzing data from the NHANES researchers have found that by limiting time watching television (any screen time?) to less than 2 hours per day added 1.38 years of life. Cutting total daily sitting time to less than 3 hours increased life expectancy by 2 full years. This analysis is based on 166,738 survey respondents followed for almost 10 years.

PositiveTip: Let's move it! Walk instead of sit with a friend while talking--even at work. 

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Briefly Interrupting Prolonged Sitting Beneficial

A few minutes of exercise can improve glucose metabolism.

Do you sit most of the day? A small, randomized crossover study has found that sendentary, non-diabetic, overweight volunteers significantly improved serum glucose and insulin responses to meals when they interrupted their sitting every 20 minutes with 2 minutes of light or moderate walking activity. More research is needed to determine the long-term benefits of brief interruptions to prolonged sitting, but there are probably no downsides!

PositiveTip: Get up and move around as much as possible during the day--even briefly!

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Make Time + Break Time = Cancer Prevention

Move away from the desk for 3-minute workouts--and lower risks.

Are you glued to your computer all day long? If you are, you are probably not doing yourself or your employer a favor! Extended periods of sitting are harmful to your health. Recent research clearly indicates that all causes of mortality can be increased by too much sitting! The American Institute of Cancer Research is encouraging everyone to break up extended sitting by getting up for short periods of strength training.

PositiveTip: Watch exercise physiologist Mary Kennedy show you some quick workouts to help keep you moving.