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It's no secret that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. But if you must sit a lot, then at least get up and walk around every once in a while for the sake of your heart, suggests a study by a team of Australian and U.S. researchers.

The findings are based on a review of 4,757 people who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The analysis showed that people who spend the most time sitting tended to have wider girths and more risk factors for heart disease, but the results also showed that even small breaks from sitting can help mitigate the harm.

"What we found was that those who took more breaks - regardless of their total sedentary time - had, on average, lower waist circumference and C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker [linked to cardiovascular disease]" Genevieve Healy of the University of Queensland in Australia said in an e-mail.

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The breaks didn't need to involve exercise and could be as short as one minute. The study was published in the European Heart Journal.

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