How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving?

Sitting around all day and night with family and friends, enjoying good food and (hopefully!) good company?

If so, that sounds like an ideal way to spend a holiday — so long as it doesn't become a habit, as it has for far too many Americans.

Last week, the U.S. federal government released the second edition of its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

In alerting Americans of the need to improve their ways, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, "Today, about half of all American adults — 117 million people — have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the 10 most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Yet nearly 80 percent of adults are not meeting the key guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, while only about half meet the key guidelines for aerobic physical activity. This lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10 percent of premature mortality."

The government recommends that, ideally, adults should engage in two and a half to five hours of weekly vigorous cardiovascular exercise and a minimum of two days per week of strength-training.

According to data collected on the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Americans spend more than 55 percent of their waking hours sitting, reclining or lying down.

The report noted that extensive daily sedentary behavior — especially sitting — substantially increases a person's mortality risk.

However, merely standing for longer periods of time — even if one does not exercise — reduces this risk.

Extensive sitting — which Apple CEO Tim Cook believes is  "the new cancer" — causes an array of potential internal damage.

Metabolism, digestion, blood sugar, blood pressure, hormones, heart rate — they're all negatively impacted by spending too much time in a chair or on a couch.

Cook is so passionate about preventing the deleterious effects of sitting that earlier this year he revealed in an interview that all Apple employees now get a standing desk because "if you can stand for a while, then sit, and so on and so forth, it's much better for your lifestyle."

Cook's intuition is backed up by medical research.

Dr. David B. Agus, author of “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health,” says sitting too much can even affect us on a genetic level, decreasing the performance of genes meant to protect us.

Agus says that one gene in particular — lipid phosphate phosphatase — that's responsible for maintaining cardiovascular health by preventing inflammation and potentially life-threatening blood clots is "significantly suppressed when the body is idle for a few hours, so it can’t do its job ... Even exercise won’t impact this gene if the muscles have been inactive most of the day.”

Research like this is why the government report implores folks of all ages to be upright and moving — even if just for a few minutes at a time — as often as possible.

In its initial Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans released a decade ago, the recommendation was for people to be active in (minimum) 10-minute increments.

That's been replaced by this simple admonition: "Move more and sit less."