01/02/2011 06:13 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Take More Breaks For A Healthy Heart And Slim Waist

We do it all day at the office, then we often go home and do it all night too. Sit, that is. In fact, most people spend a lot of time sitting down, thanks to our modern lifestyles. And it's not at all good for us, especially our hearts. Even our waistlines are in danger of thickening if we sit for too long.

Sitting for too long can be bad for your heart - and your waistline. Photo: AFP Getty

That's the conclusion of US and Australian scientists writing in the European Heart Journal. But there's good news. Getting up onto your feet and taking lots of breaks - even if it's just for a minute to stand up and stretch your legs - can really help, says the researchers' study.

The experts analysed information from more than 4,700 people who took part in a large-scale US survey between 2003 and 2006. The volunteers wore a device that recorded their movements and had blood tests to measure their cholesterol levels as well as other things that are significant for heart health.

The study's results suggest that those who sit for long periods and don't move around very much tend to have a larger waist measurement (4.1cm larger on average) than others who take the most breaks from sitting - not just that but they may have higher cholesterol levels too.

So what should you do to break up all that sitting? At the office, for instance, don't have a rubbish bin next to your desk, get up and use someone else's. And instead of having a large bottle of water to swig from, switch to a small glass so you have to get up regularly to fill it. Even standing on the train or bus instead of sitting could be beneficial.

Do you think you spend too much of your day sitting?

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