Sit Too Long? The 10-Minute Fix That Could Save Your Life

Prolonged sitting has been associated with greater risks of potentially fatal conditions. But there may be a simple way to prevent — and even reverse — the damage.

As lifestyles and workdays have become more sedentary, we sit for hours on end — and researchers have found more ways it’s harming our health.

Studies have associated prolonged sitting with greater risks of potentially fatal conditions such as blood clots, cancer and heart conditions, to name a few.

Some workers shell out a lot of money for standing desks in an effort to reduce their risks, but it turns out there’s a free and simple solution.

According to researchers at the University of Missouri Health System, you simply need to get up and take a quick walk.

One danger of prolonged sitting is that it stresses the circulatory system by greatly reducing blood flow and reducing the ability of arteries to dilate, says Jaume Padilla, who teaches nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine:

“Dilation is a sign of vascular health. The more the artery can dilate and respond to stimuli, the healthier it is.”

Padilla found that breaking up a day of sitting at your desk by taking one 10-minute walk — at a pace of your choice — can not only reduce circulatory risks but also reverse any harmful effects that a day of sitting might have on the circulatory system:

“Our study found that when you sit for six straight hours, or the majority of an eight-hour work day, blood flow to your legs is greatly reduced. We also found that just 10 minutes of walking after sitting for an extended time reversed the detrimental consequences.”

A news release about the study from the University of Missouri did not address standing desks as a solution, but other experts continue to cite them as one way to combat sedentary workdays.

However, Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, tells the Wall Street Journal that workers should neither stand nor sit constantly:

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

Do you take any steps to avoid the dangers of sitting for hours on end? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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