LOS ANGELES -
A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds too much sitting is linked to serious health risks and death, regardless of whether or not you exercise regularly.
Seventy percent of employees at the software company Opower in Virginia have standing desks, including Carleigh Graves. "The first week of standing was challenging -- my feet hurt. But I don't feel any pain anymore," Graves said.
Health experts want people to stand more. A new study finds sitting is linked to a higher risk of death, of cancer, of diabetes and heart disease -- even for people who exercise regularly. "Bottom line is, even if you do an hour or half an hour of exercise every day doesn't not give us the reassurance that sitting for the other 23 hours is ok -- in fact, it's not," said study author David Alter with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Alter says the health risks of sitting are worse for people who don't get any physical activity but everyone should make an effort to get up and move around. "You want to take the stairs even better, you want to go home and not sit on the couch and stand and watch TV and make your leisure time 15 minutes instead of an hour -- even better.
Another tip from doctors, if you have to sit at work, make sure to get up from your computer for 1 to 3 minutes every half an hour. Experts say standing increases your metabolism and burns twice as many calories as sitting.
Carleigh says she prefers to stand. "If I was sitting down I feel like I would hesitate to get up and talk to somebody, but I'm already up," she said. She even has a standing desk at home.
Researchers reviewed previous studies about sedentary behavior to come up with their conclusions. They say the health hazards seem to be the worst for people who sit 8 or 9 hours a day.