Like many of you, I'm looking forward to watching the opening of the London Olympics next week. But my pleasure in seeing athletes at their peak is tempered by a new study that says spending so many hours in front of the TV could be fatal.
The study, published in the prestigious journal the Lancet, says that a lack of exercise now causes as many deaths around the world as smoking. Researchers say that about a third of adults are not physically active – which may lead to 5.3 million annual deaths.
Studies like this make many of us think that we need to spend a couple of hours a day at the gym in order to protect our health. In fact, it's a lot easier than you might think to meet the minimum amount of physical activity, 150 minutes a week. You can accomplish that by a little more than 20 minutes a day of brisk walking or even some household chores like gardening.
The study looked at people in dozens of countries and found that those from wealthier countries tended to be less active.
So enjoy the Olympics but instead of just sitting and watching, get inspired to do more yourself. Anybody can find 20 minutes a day to exercise.