Sitting Kills

Americans spend too much time in a chair, and that's not good.

Posted: 03/28/2014 11:38 AM EDT

Sitting too much is a serious health threat.

But limiting sit-down time to less than three hours a day might add an extra two years to your life. Trim TV viewing, usually done while sitting, to less than two hours a day, and you might extend your life by almost 1.4 years.

A recent British study found that American adults spend about 55 percent of their time being sedentary. This behavior has been linked to diabetes—one study found a sedentary lifestyle is the cause of 27 percent of the world's diabetes cases—and death from heart disease or stroke. Other research shows being physically inactive is linked to obesity, a weakened immune system, joint pain and some cancers.

The findings add to a growing body of literature on the possible health problems that occur when we sit too much, says Scott Kahan, M.D., director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C. “The more we sit,” he says, “the more likely that bad things happen in the body.”

Some companies are adding standing desks and strolling meetings, but this is one you can tackle on your own. Take your dog for a long walk, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the parking lot, take a short walking break every hour during the workday, exercise while watching TV, or find a physical hobby, such as dancing, and do as James Brown sang: "get on up!"

Read more about why how sitting can damage our health at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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(Photo: GettyImages)

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