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Sitting too much can be a risk to your health. Studies have linked being inactive with being overweight and obese, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.

If your work or studies require you to sit for long hours, it’s important to take breaks and engage in short bouts of movement throughout the day. According to a 2023 study in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 5 minutes of light walking every half hour can help alleviate some of the increased risk to health ailments that comes with sitting for long stretches of the day.

Here’s how prolonged sitting affects your body and your health.