"It's scary to think that even if I am going to the gym 30 to 45 minutes every day, that might not be enough," said Alpa Patel, strategic director for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-3. "But the other important message here is for the two thirds of U.S. adults who don't engage in regular physical activity, there's benefit in just moving around."
Experts say avoiding the sedentary life is mostly about remembering to be active. Even people who work a desk job for 60 hours each week can still work movement into their days -- getting up for a cup of water instead of keeping one at your desk, walking down the hall to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email.
Joan Vernikos, the former director of life sciences at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and author of "Sitting Kills, Moving Heals," said simply standing once every 30 minutes can help stimulate the body by fighting the forces of gravity.
"It's not how long you stay standing, but how often you stand up, how often you challenge your body to respond," Vernikos said. "What provides the baseline of physiological activity in the body is small to large movement, intermittently all day, every day."