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A new British Journal of Sports Medicine study found that—on average—your life expectancy decreases nearly 22 minutes with every hour of television you watch.
There’s nothing magical about watching TV, of course. “A high amount of TV watching is likely a reflection of an overall sedentary lifestyle,” says Robert L. Newton, Jr., Ph.D., assistant professor of inactivity physiology at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Americans spend about 8 hours per day engaged in sedentary behaviors, such as sitting at a desk, playing video games, talking on the telephone, and watching TV, says Newton. “As a start, we should aim to reduce the time we spend sitting by at least 2 hours every day,” Newton says.
Try setting up a standing computer desk either at work or at home to cut back on sitting time, Newton recommends. Or try cooking dinner or folding your clothes while you watch TV.
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Keep in mind that 22 minute stat is an average number that’s associated with decreased lifespan. An hour of TV doesn’t actually cause you to die 22 minutes earlier. Still, we were curious how TV compared to other activities. Here’s a look: