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Sitting Slows Down the Body

It's time to give those sitting muscles a break. New research from the University of Missouri shows that passing too much time on your duff can slow both your fat and cholesterol metabolism and stimulate disease-promoting processes.

In a series of studies on animals and humans, lead study coauthor Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., found that staying sedentary for hours can shut off enzymes in the blood vessels of muscles responsible for fat-burning. But simply standing up can reengage those enzymes, helping you maintain a healthy metabolism and protect against a host of health problems, including metabolic syndrome, a diabetes precursor.

Hamilton recommends limiting your sitting time throughout the day. "You can do many of the same things when standing just as productively as when you're sitting," he says -- standing when sorting paperwork, for instance. For tasks that do require sitting, take frequent breaks.

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