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Working out may not be enough to lower risk for cardiovascular disease

In this Aug. 13, 2014 photo, workers sit at desks at Firstkontact Center, a call center in the northern border city of Tijuana, Mexico. If you're sitting in an office, you should probably read this standing up. In the first advice of its kind, British experts are recommending office workers stand for at least two hours a day, in a warning against the dangers of sitting. The guidelines were developed by a group of experts invited by Public Health England and an advocacy group and were published online Monday, June 1, 2015 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (AP Photo/Alex Cossio, File)

PHOENIX — A sedentary lifestyle is a big risk factor for heart disease, even for those who regularly exercise. That’s according to the American Heart Association, which is warning that sitting around too much can cause cardiovascular problems despite exercising.

If you’re sitting at your desk all day, going to the gym afterward may not be a simple fix. The AHA said exercise alone does not reverse the effects of that long period of inactivity.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Iva Smolens said you’ve got to get up and move.

“Get up and walk around every hour or two hours. Take a break, get up and walk around. Take a walk outside, take a lap around your office park,” said Smolens, who is the immediate past president of the volunteer board of the American Heart Association in Phoenix.

Dr. Smolens said the generation that has grown up in front of their computers without spending a lot of time outside is at an increased risk for heart disease.

“Sitting for a prolonged period of time even if you have daily exercise in your life can also increase the risk for heart disease,” Dr. Smolens said.

Dr. Smolens said the Heart Association’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, five to seven days a week, still stands.

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