Watching TV can turn your arteries to stone

Medusa is a creature of myth -- but there's one thing in your home right now that holds some of her power.

It's your television.

The more time you sit in front of it watching TV, the less time you move. And the less you move, the more health risks you face -- including the risk of arteries slowly turning to stone.

The turning point appears to be two hours. Spend less than two hours sitting -- whether it's in front of a computer or in front of the TV -- and you're doing OK.

Go beyond that -- even just 20 minutes beyond that -- and your arteries will start to stiffen, including the critical carotid artery in your neck and the femoral arteries in your legs, according to the new study on the effects of watching TV.

As I just mentioned, arteries can harden over the years even if you keep healthy habits -- but the study wasn't on older people already suffering from the effects of time. It was on young adults, many of them in their 30s. And if too much watching TV can do that much damage before middle age even hits, imagine what it can do over an even longer period of time.

Imagine what it could be doing to you right now, especially if you're on the wrong end of a decades-long TV habit.

Then, stop imagining, grab the remote, hit the "off" button and get some movement.

Don't settle for 30 minutes on a treadmill; the study finds that alone won't help. In fact, if you spend too much time sitting that little bit of exercise won't make much of a difference at all.

You need to be active for longer periods of time -- and active throughout the day, every day.

Go for regular walks, and choose some habits and hobbies that'll keep you on your feet -- everything from sports to gardening to volunteering at a church or community center will help, as long as it keeps you up and moving.

Move as if your life depends on it -- because in many ways, it does.