Had an exhausting day? Think you deserve to kick back and relax? You might want to think again. If you’re like most people nationwide, you’ve spent more than half of your waking hours sitting or inactive for long stretches of time—at work, at school, in the car or watching TV or another type of screen. Maybe it’s time to try standing up instead of putting your feet up.

Scientists estimate that Americans ages 12 and up now spend most of their time—about 8 to 10 hours a day—sitting and doing things that require little energy. The groups who sit the most are teens and older adults.

What’s so bad about sitting? Sedentary behavior—which usually means sitting or lying down while awake—has been linked to a shorter lifespan and a wide range of medical problems.

Studies have found that any time you get up and move, you’re improving your chances for good health.

When you sit for long periods, your body adapts to the reduced physical demand and slows down its metabolism. When metabolism slows, you burn fewer calories and boost the chance that extra energy will be stored as fat. The best way to raise your metabolism is simply by moving. The more you move, the better.

Tips to Increase Daily Physical Activity:

  • Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of an elevator.
  • Park your car at the far end of a street or parking lot to walk further to your destination.
  • Set an alarm that goes off every hour that prompts you to move around for a minute or two.
  • Have small weights or resistance bands in your home or office for doing arm exercises.
  • Walk & Talk. Even if you're stuck to your phone for work-related calls, you don’t have to remain stuck in a chair. Get up and walk around while you talk.
  • Haven’t worked out in a while? Start small. Here’s a great, light, 10-minute workout.