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Don't Just Sit There Watching TV—Get Up and Move It

Don't Just Sit There Watching TV—Get Up and Move It

The instant you finish reading our blog, do this: Get up and get a move on.

Sitting around -- driving, eating, working, knitting, emailing, watching TV -- is lethal. (Move it!) This isn't news. Everyone's known for a while that Coach Potato-Itis is a serious heart threat. And recent studies have shown that lots of sitting, even if you get serious amounts of exercise, messes up your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

But here's the new shocker: Sitting causes cancer. Scientists have just tied 49,000 US cases of breast and 43,000 of colon cancer each year to prolonged sitting. (Move it!) That puts tush time right up there with smoking, obesity and a passion for pork rinds.

Does watching TV give you the munchies? Use this simple trick to prevent cravings.

This is tough, since lots of what you have to do or want to do involves sitting, right? (Move it!) But wait. Breaking up endless time on your bum, even for a few minutes, breaks up the bad body effects. Key enzymes move, blood flows, mind and muscles flex. All it takes:

  • Get up and move at least every 30 minutes. Get more water or coffee or a banana or the mail. Cruise the hallways. Pace when you're on the phone. Stand and stretch. (Yep, even just standing helps. Fidgeting does, too.)
  • Go ahead, watch your favorite shows. Just don't sit there. Cook, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, get up and dance to the theme music, ride a stationary bike (replace the couch with one; both of us YOU Docs have).
  • Is the TV thing that important? You bet. This research also just came in: Staring at the tube for an average of 6 hours a day (versus none) shortens your life by 5 to 10 years. (Move it!)

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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