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Get Off the Couch, Turn off the Tube, and Enjoy Your Senior Years

Warning: Don’t read this sitting down. Oh, and if happen to be watching “Breaking Bad” at the moment, turn off the tube. You’re killing yourself and you don’t even know it.

According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal Open, sitting down and watching TV reduces life expectancy in the US of A. Who knew lounging around and watching “SportsCenter” could have a negative impact on your health? “Game of Thrones” marathons are poor substitutes for actual marathons, it seems.

Get off the couch!

Researchers poured over information obtained from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in order to “determine the impact of sitting and television viewing on life expectancy in the USA.”

The average life expectancy, which is a measure of the average lifespan of a population, is 78.5 years for Americans. Analyzing data from previous research, the study shows that life expectancy in the United States would be two years higher if adults reduced their time spent sitting to less than three hours a day. Life expectancy would be 1.38 years higher if adult reduced their TV viewing to less than two hours a day.

The study cited the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that adults should take part in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least 150 minutes a week. Apparently, a good deal of us are spending those 150 minutes with our asses parked on the sofa watching “CSI.”

What this study highlights, that sitting and watching TV is unhealthy, is almost so obvious it’s laughable. Unfortunately, tons of people in our country still haven’t gotten the message that physical fitness isn’t something to “consider.” It’s a must for those that want to, in the words of Spock, “live long and prosper.”

How many hours a week do you spend sitting around and/or watching TV? Probably at least a few, am I right?

I hardly watch TV. If “Mad Men” or “Pawn Stars” is on, I’m in, but otherwise it’s just not my thing. As a full-time writer, however, I spend a crapload of time sitting at my desk. Fortunately, I make up for my lethargy by running four-to-five days a week and lifting weights three times a week. If I didn’t devote as many hours as I do to keeping fit, I know I’d be in sorry shape.

But I write about fitness on a weekly basis. If fitness isn’t on your brain, it’s about time you started thinking about it more often.

Think about it. Is sitting really that fun? Okay, it’s pretty nice, but so is running, playing basketball, skiing, etc. Why not work out a few hours a week and spend the two extra years sitting and watching all the TV you want. By then, “Mad Men” will be a classic show and we’ll probably be sitting in hovering La-Z-Boy’s.

Regardless, if you want to keep fit, spend less time sitting and watching TV. It’s that simple. Don’t deny yourself two years of life just so you could sit around chill on your loveseat and watch “King of Queens” every night. Doug’s funny, but he’s not that funny.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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