The importance of activity for a healthier and longer life. The NY Times discusses new studies.

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Earlier this year, a study had shown that people who sat for longer periods of time had a shorter lifespan. Many of us sit for a living either driving or on the phone and some of us are just couch potatoes. New studies confirm that people on the move are more likely to live healthier lives. Years ago, it took work to even feed ourselves, since preparation, cooking and finding the food was not as simple as going to a supermarket and buying it. Many people went to open markets or grew it themselves which was not a sedentary activity. In many European countries, it is not unusual for many people to walk to the market, while we Americans are more likely to get in our cars and go, which is more sitting and less activity. Check out the NY Times article here

Get Up. Get Out. Don't Sit.

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Just as we were all settling in front of the television to watch the baseball playoffs, two new studies about the perils of sitting have spoiled our viewing pleasure.The research, published in separate medical journals this month, adds to a growing scientific consensus that the more time someone spends sitting, especially in front of the television, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be.To reach that conclusion, the authors of one of the studies, published in the October issue of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, turned to data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, a large, continuing survey of the health habits of almost 12,000 Australian adults.Along with questions about general health, disease status, exercise regimens, smoking, diet and so on, the survey asked respondents how many hours per day in the previous week they had spent sitting in front of the television.Watching television is not, of course, in and of itself hazardous, unless you doze off and accidentally slip from the couch onto a hard floor. But television viewing time is a useful, if somewhat imprecise, marker of how much someone is engaging in so-called sedentary behavior."People can answer a question like, ‘How much time did you spend watching TV yesterday?' much better than a question like ‘How much time did you spend sitting yesterday?' " says Dr. J. Lennert Veerman, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, who led the new study.Australians, as it turns out, watch lots of telly. According to the survey data, in 2008, the year that the researchers chose as their benchmark, Australian adults viewed a collective 9.8 billion hours of television. read more