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Do You Have Sitting Disease?

Too much time sitting down may spell bad news for your health. Here are 11 solutions.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD

Chances are you're reading this article sitting down. And if you're like most computer users, you've been in your chair for a while.

You're probably inactive for more of your day than you realize. Do you sit in your car while commuting to an eight-hour-a-day desk job and then unwind in front of the television all evening? Do you depend on email, direct-deposit paychecks, and online shopping to accomplish tasks that 10 or 20 years ago would have required you to run errands?

If so, then you may have "sitting disease." That's the new buzzword for a sedentary lifestyle that may put your health at risk.

A growing body of research shows that long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. In January 2010, British experts linked prolonged periods of sitting to a greater likelihood of disease. And that same month, Australian researchers reported that each hour spent watching TV is linked to an 18% increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, perhaps because that time is spent sitting down.

You're Meant to Move

"Human beings evolved as a walking entity, exploring the world on our feet," says James Levine, MD, author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot.

"The strangest thing in the world is that people spend all day scrunched in a chair. It's a form of physical entrapment," Levine, who strolled on a treadmill in his office at a 1 mile-per-hour pace while being interviewed for this article, says.

Levine's advice: Fight sitting disease by taking steps to become more physically active. But how do you actually do that when you're locked into a lot of sitting time at work and getting around town?

Healthy Living Tools

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