Fittest Loser At Work tip: Your chair is killing you

Is sitting the new smoking? Some experts say it is.

In fact, for every hour we spend sitting, we lose two hours of life expectancy, says Dr. James Levin, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk.

"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death," he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Kelly Starrett, a San Francisco-based coach and physical therapist, agrees.

Studies show that too much sitting contributes to obesity, diabetes, cancer and depression.

"The facts are in: your chair is your enemy, and it is murdering your body," he says in his new book, "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World."

Intense exercise won't counteract the downsides of sitting.

Research shows people that sit the most, have a 112 percent higher chance of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely - even if they regularly exercised.

• The Washington Post contributed to this report.

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