Reading This Story Is Killing You

couch belly

In what should come as no surprise to anyone, a recent study published in the journal BMJ Open — does that sound kinda dirty? — has found that too much time spent sitting on your ass is bad for you. The study did suggest, however, that getting up and doing some jumping-jacks or something every so often could add as many as two years to your life. The lead author of the study said that people shouldn’t be content doing the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. “It’s not just about getting physical activity into your life,” he said. “Just because you’re doing 30 minutes of physical activity, what about the other 23.5 hours? Don’t just sit the rest of the day.”

What happens to your muscles during the 23.5 hours you spend in a desk chair, in a driver’s seat, or on a couch? Well, your legs aren’t moving, which means that blood isn’t pumping as quickly throughout your body — it’s just pooling in your limbs, forming little pockets of Cheeto dust and cake batter while you watch a Pawn Stars marathon. (Americans spend as much as five hours a day watching television.) The study found that by sitting less, Americans could reduce premature deaths by 27 percent, and that simply by cutting TV-watching down to about two hours per day — still a fair amount of time — premature deaths may go down by as much as 19 percent. So, the next time you find yourself chained to an office desk, remember that it’s in your best interest to get up and take a walk every now and then. Just tell your boss that you’re reducing your health insurance premiums.