According to WebMD, an April 2014 study revealed links between a sedentary lifestyle and increased risk of heart disease, disability, obesity, bad cholesterol, depression and high blood pressure. WebMD explains that experts remain unsure if sitting causes poor health or vice versa.
Health and wellness programs are designed to encourage small bursts of activity and break up long periods of sitting. Although there is no set limit, WebMD suggests that people get up every 30 minutes if possible.
In 2012, Wired chronicled the rise in popularity of standing desks at the workplace, emphasizing how long sitting sessions changed the body's metabolism. If a standing desk isn't an option, Wired suggests taking a five minute standing break or jury-rigging a standing desk by stacking boxes on a surface.
WebMD and Wired both emphasize that exercise does not reverse the effects of sitting for excessively long periods of time and consider the two activities to be separate factors influencing health.
Excessive sitting has even been linked to cancer. A study published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed that participants with colorectal cancer who were physically active were 28 percent less likely to die than their peers.