Working out at the gym might not be enough to keep us fit and healthy if we spend the rest of our time sitting down. A huge 9-year study of 24-thousand people found that the more hours of TV we watch, the higher our risk of death, including from heart disease. Even if we also get an hour’s worth of moderate exercise a day.
Experts say we should be walking 10-thousand steps a day – or about 5 miles. No matter how much other exercise we get. But we’re not moving anywhere near that much. In states where levels of obesity are low - like Colorado – people walk about 7-thousand steps a day. But in high-obesity states like Tennessee and Arkansas, people take half that many steps.
If you’d like to increase the number of steps you take, get a pedometer to count your steps so you know where you stand. Better yet, try an accelerometer that tracks how far and how fast you move, and calculates the calories burned. You can even set the device to vibrate if you sit idle for – say – 30 minutes or more.
Experts say that even the smallest movements add up, like, shutting the garage door by hand, washing a sink-full of dishes, or kneading bread dough. Even chewing gum and rocking in your chair can help.
Your best bet: If you’re a couch potato, march in front of TV during the commercials. For every hour of TV you watch, you could add an additional one-thousand steps to your daily count.