This article is one in a series about getting fit in the new year. Check out the entire Man up! series here.
Now this is probably preaching to the converted for anyone reading the Adventure section of Discovery.com, but it’s always nice to have some quantification of what you already know is good for you… and what is the sure road to ill-health, weight gain, and all around wasting of your life.
A new study in The Lancet shows that even exercising just 15 minutes a day can increase your life expectancy by three years — that’s the least amount of activity to have any demonstrable health benefit (BBC News) — and reduce your risk of death by 14%
Conversely though, the same article reports, researchers writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine say that watching six hours or more of TV a day reduces your lifespan by five years — most likely because if you’re sitting down that much you’re also not getting that much exercise.
I imagine (much to my chagrin) that sitting behind a computer for that many hours a day qualifies as being as sedentary as just sitting mindlessly behind the great idiot box.
So, how do I balance those two reports?
On a bad week, I surpass that minimum weekly threshold in the first two days of the week. Chalk up at least another three years to my life expectancy and lower my risk of death by at least 25%. But considering how much time I professionally sit in front of the computer—or sometimes stand at my standing desk (try it, really)—on a bad week all of that might be cancelled out.
The take away: A great many of us, even those of us who are active, could probably close the computer, turn off the TV, and simply move more.