People who remain seated more than six hours a day are candidates to die earlier—even if you hit the gym after work and even if you aren’t overweight.

So says a study from the American Cancer Society. Specifically, women who sit more than six hours a day are 37 percent more likely to die earlier than those who sit less than three hours a day. Men fared slightly better, with only 17 percent more likely to die earlier. Exercisers did post lower risks, but still were more likely to die than their active counterparts.

“Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates,” said Dr. Alpa Patel, lead study author. “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

Stand Up!
The authors conclude that public health messages and guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity. Because so many people spends much of their time sitting, people should be encouraged to stand up and walk.

A virtual office may not be the silver bullet to countering the effects of long-sitting, but it can help. Working at home using virtual office technologies gives you more freedom to get up and walk around than you have in a traditional office space. Here are some examples of how a virtual office can help battle the sedentary office life:

1. With virtual office technologies, you can save many hours of sitting in a plane by holding a web conference rather than a traditional meeting.  During  your web conference you can pace the floor rather than sit.

2. With virtual office technologies in your home office, you can ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes while reviewing paperwork or making incidental phone calls rather than sitting in front of your computer.

3. With virtual office technologies, you are more productive than your traditional office worker counterpart, giving you more time to take a walk after lunch.

As you can see, virtual office space offers freedom that traditional office environments can’t match. Rather than being stuck behind a computer screen all day, virtual office technologies can cut the tether that’s holding you to the desk and allow stay more active—and maybe add years to your life.