If you are sedentary, a 5 minute exercise break every 2 to 3 hours helps to reverse the negative effects of sitting. (1)1 Sitting for long periods of time is associated with risk factors such as higher cholesterol levels and greater waist circumferences that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Prolonged sitting substantially reduces the blood flow to the legs and increases your risk for the undesirable clot formation. In fact, sitting for 3 hours straight impairs the blood flow in a main artery (femoral artery) of a leg by 50%. Unfortunately, the ability of this artery to dilate starts to be impaired after just one hour of sitting. When people sit, slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart. Blood can pool in the legs and affect the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow. Even slow 5-10 minute walks around the office can reverse harm caused to leg arteries during three hours of prolonged sitting. (2)2
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