A new study by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found that sitting for long periods of time can shorten a person's life expectancy. Sitting for too long is known as a sedentary lifestyle and doctors are now calling it the "sitting disease."
Most Americans average more than six hours a day sitting either at work, home, or in the driver's seat.
Mayo Clinic, researchers say if Americans would cut their sitting time in half... it would increase their life expectancy by two years. They say not only does a sedentary lifestyle shorten your life span, but there are also significant other problems associated with the disease.
The doctors say sitting for too long increases a person's risk of heart disease, cancer, and type-two diabetes. Depression and obesity can also be effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
"Things we use to see with people as they get older, were now seeing these things developing earlier because of this sedentary lifestyle," Dr. Steven Cruea, Vice Chief of Emergency Medicine at Palmetto Health Baptist said.
For the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute study, researchers analyzed 47 studies that tracked groups of people who reported how much time they spent sitting and how much exercise they did.
The findings were the most sedentary people were also 24 percent more likely to die during the studies than participants who spent less amount of time sitting.
Julie Taylor is a physician office assistant at South Hampton Family Practice in Columbia. She sits for most of her workday.
"I usually sit most of the day from seven to four," she said. "There are some days that I go home and I'm just mentally exhausted more than physically."
Taylor is one of many people whose job requires them to work at a desk. Paula Benson, works in the South Carolina Senate. She spends her days inside of the office and feels the physical effects of sitting for too long.
"I noticed my greatest difficulty is in my knees and my ankles, as I go to stand back up, I think to myself... ouch that hurts," she said.
Chiropractor Dr. Adam Bunce say he sees many patients for adjustments to help ease their physical pain from sitting for long periods of time. "Most people who are here are sitting a lot during the day and when they come in, that lower back and that upper back pain is really what's getting them," he said.
The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute study, there are two main factors to help fight sitting disease: exercise and less sitting time.
Exercise will not do the trick alone. The study suggests that working standing up, taking breaks to walk around, and walking up the stairs during the workday is also beneficial.
Taking these steps toward a healthier lifestyle by sitting less and staying active will increase your life expectancy says the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.