Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise

Is sitting the new smoking?
Is sitting the new smoking?

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Story highlights

  • Sedentary behavior is the fourth-leading risk factor of death
  • Exercise helps, but exercise doesn't seem to balance out the bad impact of sitting
  • Little steps: Stand during TV commercials and get up for a minute or three every half hour at work

(CNN)One of your favorite activities may actually be killing you.

Our entire modern world is constructed to keep you sitting down. When we drive, we sit. When we work at an office, we sit. When we watch TV, well, you get the picture.
And yet, a new study that's running in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.
2012: Longevity versus inactivity
2012: Longevity versus inactivity

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Researchers from Toronto came to this conclusion after analyzing 47 studies of sedentary behavior.
    They adjusted their data to incorporate the amount someone exercises and found that the sitting we typically do in a day still outweighs the benefit we get from exercise. Of course, the more you exercise, the lower the impact of sedentary behavior.
    The studies showed sedentary behavior can lead to death from cardiovascular issues and cancer as well as cause chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
    Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
    Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%.
    Moving couch part of 'Sedentary Parade'
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    So what can you do to reduce the time you spend engaged in an activity that is not good for you?
    The study authors did make some simple suggestions to help you sit less. One is to just be aware of how much you are sitting. That way you can make a goal of reducing that number a little bit each week.
    If you are at work, you could try a standing desk or make it a goal to stand up or walk around for a minute or three once every half an hour.
    If you watch TV at night, don't zoom ahead during the commercials with your DVR. Instead walk around or at least stand up during the show break.