By Marbeya Garcia-Bermudez

What is something you do every day that can take years off of your life? Sitting. That’s right, sitting. New research shows that people who spend the majority of their days sitting down have a higher risk of developing heart disease and other complications. Sitting down is an effortless activity that requires no movement, and as a result your body isn’t moving and falls into a sedentary mode.

Even if you exercise more than another person, long periods of sitting down can cause you to have unhealthy sugar levels. James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota studied a group of people that ate the same foods and didn’t exercise for two months. One group of people gained weight, while the other group gained very little or no weight. The scientists wondered if there was some kind of metabolic factor in those who gained only a little weight, but discovered that those people spent more time active than sitting down. Since your body falls into a motionless state, you’re prone to not exercise and your body slows down the process in which it burns fats.

Another experiment was done by the American Cancer Society, where approximately 123,000 healthy people were tracked between the years 1992 and 2006. On average, men who spent six or more hours sitting down had a 20 percent higher death rate than those who sat three hours or less. Women with the same conditions had a 40 percent higher death rate. However, this can be countered. By doing even the smallest thing, like tying your shoes or walking to the trash, you burn calories. In the middle of class or studying, take a walk or stand and stretch to avoid long periods of inactivity.