We’re now hearing about the fatal risks of sitting too long every day — yet a large number of us are still doing it. Whether we’re working eight hours at a computer, driving in traffic, or sitting at home at the TV or laptop — it’s hard to shake the habit, as productivity at work typically trumps our ability to take long, exercise-filled breaks. The fact is, even if we exercise once a day, the adverse effects of our 6+ hours of sitting will cancel that out.

Health experts are urging us to be more aware of the extent of our tendencies to be sedentary. And a new study out of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, points to some options for us to break up our days of sitting. “We were surprised by how difficult it was to reduce sedentary time and that no one approach seemed better than the other approaches,” Leon Straker, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.

The authors write that our exposure to “sedentary behaviors” has increased in the modern age due to “changes in land use, leisure activities, active transport, technological advancements, and the workforce proportion in sedentary occupations.” Occupational sedentary exposure — or sitting all day at a desk — has been recognized as a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. And studies have also shown that going for a daily workout at the gym doesn’t offset these risks.

In the study, Straker and fellow researchers tested three models that would assist office workers to move throughout the day. In one model, employees had access to “active workstations” like a standing or cycling desk. They were recommended to use these for 10 to 30 minutes per day. The second group promoted traditional exercise breaks, or going on moderate walks or jogs during breaks, as well as before and after work. In the third model, employees used ergonomic workstations and also did “active sitting,” which meant they would move around their chair more.

The researchers found that these options merely reduced the employees’ sedentary time by 1 or 2 percent — or up to eight minutes per day. This doesn’t appear to be enough to make much of a difference. “We expected the ‘active office’ approach to be more effective at reducing work time sedentariness — however organizations found it quite hard to implement the regular use of active workstations,” Straker told Reuters.

Harvard researcher Frank Hu previously studied the effects of prolonged TV watching and sedentary behavior. “The message is simple,” Hu said in a news release about the 2011 study. “Cutting back on TV watching can significantly reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and premature mortality. We should not only promote increasing physical activity levels but also reduce sedentary behaviors, especially prolonged TV watching.”

Spending more than six hours sitting per day increases a person’s risks to develop these cardiovascular or diabetes-related disorders. A recent study found that routine moderate to vigorous exercise wasn’t enough, and that people should also be taking part in “background activity” throughout the day instead of sitting or lounging on the couch, such as walking, cleaning, washing dishes, or gardening. Others call background activity NEAT: nonexercise activity thermogenesis — just to get your muscles moving.

“Reducing overall time in sitting may be challenging for some workers,” Straker told Reuters, “but it is often possible to identify work tasks that can be done standing or gently walking, and workers can also look at how they commute and spend their leisure time to look for opportunities to sit less and move more.”