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Sitting less than three hours a day can add years to your life, study finds

Published: Wednesday, July 11 2012 2:23 p.m. MDT

Getting people to spend less time sitting is difficult, Time reported. Many work "sedentary jobs" in the office.

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Sitting for more than three hours a day can curtail life expectancy of a person by two years, regardless of regular exercise or smoking abstinence. Another 1.4 years can be lost to one who watches TV for more than two hours a day, according to a study to be published on Tuesday in the online journal "BMJ Open."

"In the same way that both pushing the gas and hitting the brake can adjust the speed of your car, researchers say that physical activity and sedentary behavior independently affect your health and life expectancy," Time reported.

The findings were conducted in lieu of an Australian study that found people who said they watched more than four hours of TV a day were 46 percent more likely to die than people who said they spent less than two hours a day watching TV, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"The study bolsters an emerging body of research that points to a number of dangers associated with leading a sedentary lifestyle. Last year, scientists found that people who worked 10 years in sedentary jobs, or jobs that don't require a lot of energy expenditure, had twice the risk of colon cancer and a 44 percent increased risk of rectal cancer, compared with people who had never worked sedentary jobs."

Whether “you’re physically active and meet the exercise guidelines, or if you’re not active,” says Peter Katzmarzyk, professor of epidemiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and lead author of the paper, “sitting is bad.”

Getting people to spend less time sitting is difficult, Time reported. Many work "sedentary jobs" in the office. "You can start by getting up from your chair intermittently at work. Take walks around the hall in your office or try holding walking meetings instead of sitting around a table. Get up to chat with your colleague instead of sending an email. Standing doesn't take the place of exercise, but it should replace a good chunk of time you spend in your chair. The key is to spend as little time as possible sitting down."

CBS News prescribed six ways to sit less every day: Pacing on the phone, taking a stroll after eating, standing at public venues and events, doing things in person rather than online or via text, and creating a multiple workstation are several ways the detainee can combat unhealthy habits of sitting all day.

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.

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