Is sitting the new smoking? - KPTV - FOX 12

Is sitting the new smoking?

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The results from a set of recent studies may be enough to make you fall off your chair: sitting for hours and hours can be more dangerous to your health than smoking, according to a local doctor.

Extended periods of sitting can cause a variety of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high levels of blood sugar.

The problem, of course, is that many people must sit to perform their jobs, making sitting a necessity.

Dr. Miles Hassell, an expert on nutrition and lifestyle at Providence, said there are things we can do during the work day to make ourselves less sedentary.  

He suggests standing up when we take phone calls; walk when we take meetings; even take a few minutes to walk around the office once an hour. Hassell said he sometimes takes a jump-roping break.

Others have found another way to keep moving while working.  

It's called a treadmill desk. Simply put, a desk is affixed to the top of a treadmill. Laurel Singer, at Portland State University, works with one in her office.  

At a slow clip, she can walk, type and answer calls and, in short, get her work done.  

She tried the treadmill desk after suffering excruciating back pain from sitting all day at work.

"I would be at my desk sometimes 10, 12 hours a day when my workload was heavy day after day and I think that just took a toll on me," she said.

Singer was facing the possibility of back surgery, but now after 10 months working at her treadmill desk, she feels much better and no longer needs surgery.

Singer also said she's more productive at work.

"When I'm standing here and working I find that I actually have a little more attention," she said.

On an average work day, Singer said, she walks about five miles a day.

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