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You've Been Sitting Down Too Long And It's Not Good For You, Here's How To Fix It

Conor O'Leary
By Conor O'Leary
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We can exercise as much as we want, if we have poor sitting habits then it will have a negative effect on our health. At least that's the conclusion of new studies from both the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and Cornell University.

The Effects Of Sitting Too Long

If you, like most of us, spend the majority of your day sat at a desk at school or at work, then you could be at increased risk of chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and fatty liver disease. At the same time, experts are warning that too much standing also has negative effects on health. These effects include varicose veins and back problems.

Dr. Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University said it's a matter of balance:

The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day. Sitting all day and standing all day are both bad for you

What Should You Be Doing?

Dr. Hedge recommends that for every half-hour, people should be sitting for 20 minutes, standing for eight, and then moving around and stretching for the remaining two minutes. The problem with standing for longer than eight minutes is that people tend to lean; leading to back problems and other musculoskeletal issues.

Dr. Hedge's findings are in line with studies from the BJSM, who recommended having a combined two to four hours of standing and light activity spread throughout your day. Even NASA are getting in on the studies, saying that standing up for two minutes 16 times a day while at work is an effective strategy for maintaining bone and muscle density.

The current scientific evidence shows that when people have occupations in which they are on their feet for more than two hours a day, there seems to be a reduction in the risk of developing key chronic diseases.

The studies have even shown that regular exercise doesn't counteract the negative effects of sitting for too long. According to Dr. Buckley of the University of Chester, sitting causes physiological changes in the body, and may trigger some genetic factors. This can lead to conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

There's a very clear message here. Stand up, move around. Stretch. Have some conversations around the water cooler. It can benefit your health, and might even help you concentrate more when you are sitting down.

[Wall Street Journal]

See Also: 11 Fascinating Fitness Lessons We Can Take From Successful Sports Stars
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