Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report the risk of death from any cause increased by 11 percent for each hour a day of reported TV watching or total inactivity. For death by heart problems, the risk increased significantly more.
The benefits of getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on most days are still important. But if you sleep for eight hours and exercise for an hour, that leaves about 15 hours for either sitting still or moving.
The new findings show that after sitting for a few hours, the enzyme that pulls fat from the blood shuts down. Instead of fat being transported to muscle tissue where it is burned as fuel, it accumulates in the blood stream. Over time, it can damage arteries and lead to cardiovascular disease.
What you can do
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., say adding almost any kind of movement to break up a period of sitting can help. When you are at the computer, driving, reading a book or watching TV, always add movement.
Stretch and flex muscles, fold some laundry, stand up and walk about from time to time, or just get up to change the channel instead of using the remote. When you just stand up, you use muscles not required when you’re sitting or lying down.