Less TV, standing more could help you live longer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Stand up, turn off the TV - your life might depend on it

Sitting more than three hours a day may affect how long you live. Sitting more than three hours a day may affect how long you live.

(RNN) - You may want to stand up to read this story because sitting down could be detrimental to your health.

A new study published in the online journal BMJ Open says that sitting more than three hours a day may shave 2 years off your life expectancy. Watching more than two hours of television a day could take off another 1.38 years.

Sitting is not the direct cause of a shortened life, but it's a risk factor, just like smoking or overeating.

Mom was right; turn off the television, get off the computer and do something.

The article, titled Sedentary behavior and life expectancy in the USA, is the latest study linking sitting too much to health issues, such as diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease or stroke.

Adults in the U.S. spend 55 percent of their time "engaged in sedentary pursuits," according to the study. Meaning, we are sitting down at work, at home, in our cars, at dinner – every chance we get.

As for television, Nielsen reported in 2010 that the average American watches nearly 35 hours of TV each week - just five hours short of a full-time job - and that 20 percent of the day is spent watching TV.

The study by Peter Katzmarzyk at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, LA, shows that getting out of your seat has health benefits.

Although some offices are moving toward work stations where people stand at their computers to work – some even have treadmills at these stations - many workers in the U.S. are tied to their desks, so sitting fewer than three hours a day is laughable.

But there are little things office workers can do at the office to help their health:

  • Stand up every hour and take a walk around the office.
  • Instead of responding to an email from someone in the next room, go talk to them.
  • When you check your email or return phone calls, stand up to do it. Even better, do it when you check your Facebook page.
  • Don't have sit-down meetings, have everyone stand. It might have the additional benefit of speeding up the meeting.
  • Park your car father away from the office.
  • Take the long way back from the bathroom.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work in a high-rise building, try taking the stairs down if up is too much.
  • Spend some of your lunch hour eating, and the other part walking. People who walk with someone are more likely to make that commitment, so find a buddy.
  • When your coworkers take a smoke break, take a walk break and go around the block.
  • Shut the door to your office or head into the bathroom and stretch.

WebMD has a list of 12 stretches you can do at your desk and an at-work workout. Sure, you might get some funny looks from coworkers, but you'll get the last laugh when your health improves.

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