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You may think that the biggest health risk you take every day is getting into your car and facing the potential of a serious car accident. However, with the advent of new technology, most of us spend inordinate amounts of time sitting at our desks or elsewhere. Experts say that sitting in a chair for hours a day can lead to serious health consequences including obesity and blood pressure problems.

For one, sitting for extending periods of time leads to metabolic syndrome, which adversely affects the blood sugar, triglycerides, good cholesterol, resting blood pressure and levels of the “appetite hormone” leptin. Sitting also inhibits the lymbic system, which fights infections. Unfortunately, exercising after work for a little bit isn’t going to counteract sitting for 22 hours per day. Instead, you’d have to exercise for upwards of 2 hours to make up for the effects on your health.

You can keep yourself from reaping the negative health consequences of prolonged sitting by getting up and moving around regularly during the day. First, get up and move every 30 minutes, even for something small like coffee or water. Also, when you watch TV, try doing a task that involves standing and moving around like folding laundry. Finally, make sure you exercise. Even though exercise won’t completely fend off the adverse effects of sitting for long periods of time, research has found that inactive people are affected more than those who do exercise.

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