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How many hours each day do you sit? At work? In the car? At meals? In front of the TV?
You might be surprised to learn that:
50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting a day
20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV
This study went on to reveal that Americans' sedentary lifestyle shortens their life expectancy. If Americans would cut their sitting time in half, their life expectancy would increase by roughly:
2 years (by reducing sitting to less than 3 hours a day)
1.4 years (by reducing TV time to less than 2 hours a day)
From previous studies we also know that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (breast and colon).
Physical activity seems to reduce risks by increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing body fat, inflammation and certain hormonal imbalances. So becoming more active also makes life — in general — healthier and easier.
This increase in sedentary time and decrease in physical activity has profoundly impacted our health. Too much sitting is associated with numerous problems, ranging from weight gain, to osteoporosis, to cardiovascular disease. For example, research has shown that:
Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which helps burn fat.
Too much sedentary time decreases bone mineral density without increasing bone formation, which raises the risk of fracture
Excess sitting increases blood pressure and decreases the diameter of arteries, both of which make heart disease more likely.
Even worse, too much sitting could shorten your life.
Studies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Asia have all found an association between increased sedentary time and the risk of early death. These associations were independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, waist circumference and diet.