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  • Writer's pictureTo Your Health Editorial Staff

Counter the Couch Potato

The couch potato – it's alive in just about all of us; but some keep it trapped inside, while others let it run wild – although running certainly isn't the operative word. Sedentary lifestyles are killing more of our loved ones, friends and co-workers every day in the form of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. You might be putting yourself at risk as well ... if you're letting your couch potato run wild.

Fortunately, there's a way to counter couch potato syndrome, and it doesn't take as much effort as you might think. It's called physical activity, and doing only a little of it consistently can make a big difference. Here's how, according to recent research.

A single minute of moderate to vigorous exercise offsets 14 minutes of sedentary behavior; extrapolated, that means a mere five minutes of exercise counters an entire hour of sedentary time – sitting, standing still or otherwise "doing nothing" in terms of movement. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, evaluated cardiorespiratory fitness in both environments (intense exercise vs. sedentary time) in arriving at their exciting conclusions.

The take-home message: If you can't even imagine spending hours at the gym or outside exercising, appreciate that you don't have to – at least not right away. It's all about getting off that couch and moving! Remember, every minute of moderate to vigorous exercise takes away nearly 15 minutes of "sitting around." So get up and put your inner couch potato in its place for good.

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