Just as the fall television season approaches and brings a fresh crop of programming and faces to obsess over, an article in The New York Times highlights a new study revealing that watching TV is tied to fatal clot risk. So, what a better time to explore ways to exercise while watching TV. We already know that prolonged sitting time, whether at work or home, can negatively affect health and longevity. But now this study paints a self-destructive picture of TV viewing, indicating that watching for two and a half to five hours increased the risk for a fatal clot by 70 percent, and watching more than five hours increased the risk by 250 percent. For each extra two hours of watching, the risk of death rose 40 percent according to the article.
Watching TV isn’t the only sitting health concern either. According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950; physically active jobs now make up less than 20 percent of our workforce. In 1960, about half of the US workforce was physically active. According to a poll of nearly 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, it’s likely that you spend a stunning 56 hours a week planted like a geranium—staring at your computer screen, working the steering wheel, or collapsed in a heap in front of your TV for 2.8 hours of TV per day according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are Huge Health Ramifications to Being Sedentary
For example, Harvard researchers found in a February study involving more than 92,000 women that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving, or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or strokes. And research also shows that even if you hit the gym or the jogging path every day, sitting is bad for you. Dr. Graham Colditz, an expert on cancer prevention at Washington University in St. Louis, says the data is strong enough to say that sitting actually causes colon and endometrial cancer.
So? What To Do?
Doing nothing about these conclusions can be dangerous to your health, not to mention lowering quality of life, but it’s also a huge economic burden for society at large. According to Researchers at Australia’s University of Sydney, the cost of physical inactivity is estimated to be $67.5 billion per year globally with more than 40 percent of the total is attributed to the United States. The World Health Organization defines inactivity as less than 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity per week by adults.
Butt Seriously, I Have Bills to Pay and I Want to Enjoy My Shows (Minus The Self Destruction)
Our sedentary jobs aren’t going away anytime soon and who doesn’t need their couch potato time on occasion to catch up on favorite shows or even binge-watch Netflix? But, who says this time has to be sedentary? It doesn’t! The best medicine for nearly everyone is physical activity so don’t just sit there! Get moving. Heck, if you don’t like to exercise, use the TV as a distraction. We’re always told to find an activity we like and do it daily. If that activity is watching TV, maybe the best time for you to exercise is while watching TV. If you’re concentrating on Queen Latifah staring in the new musical drama Star about up and coming singers, maybe you will not focus on your discomfort. Get up and dance when she dances, move during commercial breaks, and you can always use Excy (short for exercise cycling) as upper body arm bike or as a traditional exercise bike to build cardio fitness and tone muscles at work, home, or on the go. Crank up the resistance and max out your Excy workout during your favorite show or maybe just take a slower more deliberate approach to burn some calories.
Watching TV during your workout is perfectly acceptable, so start clearing those DVRs now TV fans for the fall television season and use your favorite shows to create and stick with a fitness regimen.
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