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Quit Sitting and Live Longer

That three-hour post-workout couch session may be undoing your hard work.

Moving around more is good for your health. It makes sense, but a new study shows that people who spend less time sitting actually live longer. Researchers looked at over 22,000 men and women and found that people who sat less than four hours a day were less likely to die early. More time on the couch/chair/car seat, though, increased the risk of death. People who sat 8 to 11 hours a day—a typical workday for many—were 15% more likely to die than the movers and the shakers. The risk jumped to 40% for those who were sedentary more than 11 hours a day. The study follows other research that showed the importance of physical activity. Many diseases, like type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease, are linked to physical inactivity. This study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, was especially useful because of the large number of people included in the study, and the fact that researchers looked at the total amount of time spent sitting. The study also took into account other factors, such as overall physical activity, body mass index, and smoking habits. Even with those, the researchers still found that people who moved more lived longer. We spend much of our lives sitting, especially at work and commuting. In order to reap the benefits of movement, build physical activity into your life. In addition to keeping up with your workouts, make a point to sit five minutes less each day. You’ll notice the results, and may wonder why you bought a couch in the first place.

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