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How to stop sitting down from dragging down your health

Flickr user Andre Charland/Flickr
Employers may even benefit from getting employees up and moving, Hasson said. Sitting all day, without getting up, makes employee productivity suffer.

Get to work, grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer … and sit down to start the business of the day.

And there you stay: sitting and sitting and sitting. Sound familiar?

For those of us with desk jobs, that’s pretty much the drill.

But more and more medical researchers warn us that all that sitting is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has even declared that “sitting is the new smoking.”

Rebecca Hasson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Schools of Kinesiology and Public Health, joined us today to discuss the harm prolonged sitting does to the body and how that harm can be prevented – even for those of us with desk jobs.

“We’ve seen these comparisons with how sitting for too long is similar to smoking,” Hasson said. “It’s a modifiable behavior that we can change. It’s easier to get up throughout the day than maybe it is even to exercise.”

Hasson said sitting consistently for too long can increase risk for obesity, type two diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Some research indicates it increases our risk for certain cancers related to obesity as well.

To hear how Hasson suggests combating the desk job – including her recommendations for how, and how often, to move throughout the day – listen above. 

*This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 17, 2016.

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