Here’s another easy, no-sweat way to markedly improve your health in the new year—
stop sitting so much. You’ll live longer.
Mounting evidence suggests that sitting for long periods increases the risk
Sitting: Hazardous to Your Health
of obesity, diabetes, cancer and early
death, even for people who exercise
daily. And yet Americans now sit more
than they sleep, spending an average
of 10 hours a day in a car, at work and
in front of a television. Older adults
are the worst offenders, according to
federal government statistics: Almost
three-quarters are sedentary, and
more than four in 10 get no leisure-time physical activity at all.
To reduce your cancer risk, the American Institute of Cancer Research is
urging Americans to add mini-breaks
from sitting to a daily regimen of getting
at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.
“If you reduce sitting by five minutes
an hour, at the end of a long day, you’ve
shaved an hour off your total sitting
time,” says Alpa Patel, M.D., senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer
Society. That advice applies as well to
“active couch potatoes,” who hit the
gym or take that daily brisk walk, because some research indicates daily exercise is not enough protection from the
harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Women who reported sitting more
than six hours a day outside of work
had a 34 percent higher risk of death
than those who sat fewer than three
; Think of ways to
add physical activity to your workday
and leisure time.
; Reduce TV
viewing. Stand up
when fast-forward-ing or changing
; Look at minor
chores as an opportunity to prevent
; Put your computer
on a plastic milk crate
on the desk and work