sedentary lifestyle

  1. Watching TV hardens arteries

    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.

  2. Sedentary lifestyle can slow your metabolism

    A little sitting, a lot of risk

    Maybe chairs need warning labels like cigarettes -- because the risks of too much sitting are every bit as bad as smoking.

    And in some ways, they're even worse.

    Having a sedentary lifestyle can slow the body's metabolism to a crawl, which is why it's been linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even death -- and a new study makes the connection again, especially in men.

    The more you sit, the higher your risk -- and all it takes for your own chronic disease risk to climb is four hours a day in a chair.

    That's just half a normal workday.

    If you sit for six hours, the risks shoot up even higher -- especially your risk of diabetes, according to the study of 63,048 Australian men between the ages of 45 and 65.

    What's especially alarming is that it doesn't matter if you're comfortable in skinny jeans or if you have a few extra pounds packed around your middle -- if you're in a chair most of the day, your risk will rise, and not even regular exercise will do much to reverse it, according to the study in the sedentary lifestyle International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

    The study was on men, but the risks of the sedentary lifestyle extend to men and women alike -- and they're beyond dispute at this point, with sedentary people facing a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more.

    Here are a just a few of the studies on this published in recent weeks:

    Colon risk: Colon cancer is a detectable, treatable, and curable disease. But if you sit a lot, your own odds of beating it will plunge. People who spend six or more hours a day sitting before the diagnosis have a 36 percent higher risk of dying from the disease. And sitting after diagnosis will increase the risk by 27 percent. Regular exercise -- even something as simple as walking for more than two hours a week -- can cut your death risk by up to 42 percent.

    Sexual health: Men who watch 20 hours of television or more each week have 44 percent fewer sperm than men who watch less than four hours a week. It's not the TV killing your sperm -- it's all the sitting you do while watching it.

    Weight gain: Since women have left the "traditional" household role and taken up office jobs alongside men, they burn 360 fewer calories a day. I'm not suggesting women belong in the kitchen. Rather, men and women alike should get back to basics and away from living a sedentary lifestyle, by skipping conveniences such as landscapers, and do the house and yard work together as a way to keep moving at home.

    Again, that's not all the research on this. That's not even most of the research on this. That's just a small sample of the studies published over the past month or so.

    If you don't want to face all those risks and more, there's an easy solution.

    If most of your sitting is done at home, get off of your sofa and get moving. And if your sitting takes place in an office, find ways to get up, stretch, and walk around throughout the day.

    Don't forget to get regular exercise, too. Just make sure that exercise is in addition to regular movement -- not instead of it.

  3. The right workout regimen

    Part of getting exercise is getting the right amount -- and sometimes, that means starting out light and working your way up.
  4. Slash prostate risk by getting healthy and active

    Active men are less likely to have prostate tumors and less likely to have more aggressive cancers when they do get tumors.
  5. Lose weight without exercise

    One easy way to lose weight is to simply stand up more, since three hours of standing can burn 144 calories.
  6. Walking and jogging prevents metabolic syndrome

    You can get healthier without even breaking a sweat -- and all you have to do is walk a little faster.
  7. Sitting down can increase diabetes and heart risk

    People who sit the most have double the risk of diabetes and heart disease -- and that's true even in people who exercise each day.
  8. The wrong way to 'cure' diabetes

    Despite what you've heard, type-2 diabetes doesn't have to be a lifelong sentence. You don't have to live with the disease or even "manage" it. It can be cured -- and I mean really, truly cured: No more drugs, and no more insulin.

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