Sitting For Too Long Can Have Serious Health Consequences

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Many of us spend the majority of our work day sitting at a desk. Experts say between commuting, work, and computer and TV time, we spend up to 15 hours a day sitting.

All this sitting has a big impact on the way the body works, according to exercise physiologist Melissa Paolino. “Mainly what happens is that your metabolism begins to shut down in a sense, so with that, enzymes that are responsible for breaking down fat are suppressed,” she explained.

That can lower levels of good cholesterol, raise blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and ultimately lead to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Administrative assistant Sonia Rivera worries because of her family’s health history.

There are many small things you can do around the office to keep yourself moving. For example, you can stand up and move around every time the phone rings.

Dr. James Levine says the changes in your body occur right away. “The way the body handles insulin is almost instantaneously changed. The triglyceride fat in the blood is almost instantly improved. The way the heart operates changes almost within minutes.” he explained.

Those good effects can last up to 30 minutes after you sit down again.

Other ways to improve your health include spending 10 minutes of every hour out of your chair and walking around.

Try a stability ball instead of a conventional chair. It helps with balance, and strengthens core muscles.

Even fidgeting has benefits. “People who fidget have higher metabolisms,” said Paolino.

Experts also say excessive sitting can also cause back problems, and just moving a little can help ease the pain.

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