The Small Screen = The Short Life?

I know it has been said over and over again that watching too much television is bad for your eyesight, but I did some digging around to see what other health effects can come from watching a lot of television. As it turns around, TV addicts (like myself) might be cutting years off their lives. A CNN article discusses the possibility of early death for those who watch a lot of television in their youth.

The study, published in American Heart Association journal, performed an experiment which showed that those who watched 4+ hours of TV a day were 80% more likely to die from heart disease at an early age than those who watched less than two hours. Other factors such as age, health history, and weight did not even alter the results. Yet, the most interesting part of the article is that TV itself is not the cause of these health problems, but rather the lack of muscle activity that goes into watching TV. It's true, we spend a lot of time lounging in front of a TV doing nothing, which certainly does not do our bodies any favors.

But then I started thinking about physical activity while watching television, such as workout videos. How much more effective were workout videos compared to working out at a gym or somewhere else without a screen? Turns out, there really isn't a difference, it really just depends on your preference. Depending on what level of workout you are doing, it doesn't matter if you are standing in front of a TV or working in a gym or with a trainer. The TV has absolutely no effective on your workout. There are arguments for both sides: working in a gym and seeing other people going hard can get you motivated OR working out at home in front of the TV allows you to work out even better without having to worry about how you look.

So will watching TV hurt you? Yes and no. If you lack muscle activity and slouch while you watch TV, you might be doing your body harm. But if you are using a workout video and watching the TV, your results won't be any different than if you used any other workout method. So how about a middle of the road solution: working out while watching TV. If you are a TV fanatic (like I am), it might be a good idea to stay active and moving while watching your favorite shows. Write down some workouts or make guidelines for workouts and you will be able to enjoy your favorite shows as well as get into good shape! Might you be judged by a roommate for doing jumping jacks and crunches while watching your favorite reality show? Possibly. But you might be saving a few years of your own life, so you'll be alive when The Greatest Singing Loser Top Model is in its' 1,000th season.

For the record, not an actual show.


Interesting, I didn't realize that a little amount of TV had such a significant affect on us. I think in addition to the immobility while watching TV, people are more likely to eat and over eat while watching TV, which could be behind the higher rates of heart disease too. I wonder if sitting in front of a computer all day doing homework and writing papers would be bad for our health too....hmmmm...

I always understood that parents of children didn't want their kids to watch excessive amounts of television because it teaches them an unactive lifestyle and builds up unhealthy habits. But I honestly didn't know watching TV often would have that much of a negative impact on your health, especially on something other than your eyes. The correlation between heart issues and TV doesn't make too much sense to me though. What if you're an avid TV watcher, but go for a five mile run afterwards? I feel like there is always an exception when ideas and studies are created.

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