Stand up for yourself; too much sitting can impact your health

Most people don't put a lot of thought into the way they sit, they just sit.

But new research suggests you should pay more attention to this simple act, because the way you sit can impact your health.

For all the couch potatoes out there, you may want to stand up. A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association that surveyed more than 13,000 people finds that sitting around watching TV for at least three hours a day doubles your risk of an early death.

Previous research links sitting to a long list of consequences, including heart disease, cancer and back pain. Now more corporations are encourage employees to stand.

"Forward thinking companies realized they could improve their employees' health as well as productivity," said Barry Schwartz, spokesperson for Varidesk.

At New York Road Runners, CEO Mary Wittenberg says about 20 of her employees are now standing at desks.

"It keeps you moving a little more, definitely a lot more than when you sit, so I'm finding I feel looser the next day," said Wittenberg.

Jenny Levelle got her new desk three weeks ago.

"I do feel like i have more energy and a little more focused," she said. "It's good to move around a little bit while standing. I noticed if I stand in the exact same place too long I get stiff and my muscles get a little tight."

That's why if you decide to stand, there are do's and don'ts.

"We want your body to work smarter not harder," said Julia Doty, an ergonomic specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery who says you should keep your spine straight and shoulders down.

"You don't ever want your shoulders to be elevated, a lot of people have back pain and neck pain," said Doty.

The monitor should be an arms length away, with your arms bent at 90 degrees or a little lower. "Uour computer should be directly in front of you, you never want to be turning or twisting to use the competer," said Doty.

Ditch the high heels. Go for comfy flats like mine even if they're not as cute. For extra cushion, Jenny uses a pad under her feet.

Whether you stand or sit, just switch it up and move around. Any position for too long will lead to pain.

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