Wondering how long you’ll live? Well, healthy living will certainly affect the estimated number of years you’ll have left. In fact, according to a recent study published online in the journal BMJ Open, you could extend your lifespan by two years if you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting to less than three hours a day, and you may live 1.38 years longer (about a year and four and a half months) if you cut your TV time to less than two hours a day.

The study involved the analysis of data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which helped the researchers figure out how much time American adults generally spent sitting down and in front of the television each day—they determined that the survey participants spent around 55 percent of the day in sedentary pursuits. The researchers also analyzed existing studies that looked into the relationship between mortality and sitting down and watching TV.

Study authors Dr. Peter T. Katzmarzyk from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and Dr. I-Min Lee from the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston were hoping to find out just how big an impact these types of sedentary behavior would have on the life expectancy of the average American.

Drs. Katzmarzyk and Lee advise, “A significant shift in behaviour change at the population level is required to make demonstrable improvements in life expectancy.”

So what can you do to reduce your own sedentary pursuits? For one thing, standing desks are becoming increasingly popular. Another popular tactic is using an exercise ball in place of an office chair. Some people even affix a laptop stand to the treadmill so they can walk while doing business. But if you find these measures a bit too extreme, why not start with doing exercises right at your office desk? And if you love the boob tube too much to stick to under two hours a day, why not at least try exercising, doing housework, or doing some other physical activity during your TV time?

(Photo by Ben Raynal via Flickr Creative Commons)

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