Researchers say sitting too long at work or play can have long-lasting negative health effects

What sitting too long can do to your body.

TAMPA - Angie Castillo works the front desk at Florida Hospital Tampa, checking in patients.  She sits behind a desk for at least five hours every day.  And, she says, she often feels it.  "I prop my feet up on this little box here to elevate the lower back pain."

Just one door away, her friend and co-worker Samantha Million, is also sitting five hours a day. She says, "My lower back.  I actually had surgery last year, so I feel it more than most."

Researchers have linked sitting like that - for long periods at a time - to a number of health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels.

International Cardiologist Vasco Marques explains why. "Sitting causes a number of different metabolic reactions in the body. It gives rise to inflammatory reactions that trigger an increase in some hormones that lead to the glucose not being metabolized effectively, the cholesterol to not be deposited where it should be and the blood not to flow.  And that raises your risk for cardiovascular diseases, which not only includes heart related disease but DVT's and pulmonary embolisms that can lead to fatalities."

Doctors say there are some really simple solutions. You can stand while helping a client on the phone. Stand while you're eating lunch. You can even buy a standing desktop and rotate using the two. Angie says, "I do feel it in my lower back and then it goes to my legs so that's why I do have to stand up and stretch, go in the back room and stretch some more, so that way it doesn't hurt too long."

But stretching isn't enough. Doctor Marques says some studies suggest the optimal amount of movement is to walk an hour a day, seven days a week.  Some people find that impossible to do. He also says diet is very important.  Think real food over processed food every time you eat.

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