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How can standing help reduce my waist size?

It's fast, it's easy and it's free. To shave as much as one and a half inches from your waist, just stand up more.

In a study of middle-aged adults, those who broke up their sedentary hours the most -- by frequently getting out of their chairs for a bit -- had waists that were more than an inch smaller than their sit-for-longer peers.

Waist size is a rough indicator of how healthy you are. A big waist means you're more likely to have bad stuff going on inside your body -- such as inflammation, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood sugar and unhealthful fat deposits around vital organs. All of which bump up your risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But taking frequent breaks from sitting could melt fat around your middle -- and they don't even have to be long breaks. In the study, people had to stand for only one minute for it to count as a break.

So the breaks you take don't have to be long. But they do have to be frequent to have an impact. Use a reminder system that will provide regular prompts whenever you're sedentary -- whether it's a watch that beeps, a timer that ticks or a computer program gives you a pop-up reminder. Sound like too much? Then consider this: Related studies suggest that people with highly sedentary habits live shorter lives and have a greater risk of heart disease -- even if they exercise regularly. So make it a point to separate your derriere from your chair throughout the day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.