A Walk On The Wild Side? Why Too Much Sitting Is Dangerous For You!

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Swimming with sharks. Sticking your hand through the bars of the polar bear cage at the zoo. Coming out of the ATM late at night and announcing you just got paid!

All pretty dangerous stuff.

But to hear some doctors tell it, those things have nothing on something we do all day. For much of the day.

Something really dangerous? Try sitting.

You read that right. Too much sitting can be downright  dangerous.

And as Suzie Suh reported on the CBS2 News at 11 p.m. Friday, more and more doctors are concerned that we aren’t moving around enough.

Stephen Drucker, an attorney in Glendale, admits he rarely gets up. “I’m in the chair pretty much the whole day. Sometimes I’m sitting 3-4 hours straight before getting up.”

It’s estimated that we spend an average of 15 hours a day perched in a chair.

Medical experts like Dr. Andrew Hurwitz, a cardiovascular surgeon at Glendale Memorial Hospital, says that can be a health hazard.

“Sitting all day is not very physiologically demanding so the cardiovascular system is not putting out any stress.”

Not moving, he suggests, can slow down your metabolism. It can lower your levels of good cholesterol. Not getting up enough can boost blood sugar levels and your blood pressure … and that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers.

“The longer you hold your head in one position the greater risk for posture problems, muscular skeletal issues.”

So what does the doctor suggest? Get up … and get moving!

For starters, occasionally take a walk around the office.

Other tips: when sitting for prolonged periods, remember to stretch. If you’re on the phone, stand up and walk around. Tap your feet to get your legs moving.

And here’s a big one. Avoid the elevator, use the stairs.

Says the doctor, “I always tell people to park their cars in the furthest space in the parking lot.”

And reminds Doctor Hurwitz, “the longer your sit, and the longer you’re stationary, the bigger the risk.”

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