An Easy Way to Stay Healthier Longer
When we were kids, our parents would chase us out of the house if we turned on the TV. “Go outside and play,” they’d say. “Television will rot your mind.”
They may have been right. But they could have added, “… and your body.” Because three brand-new studies show just how much damage sitting in front of a TV screen can do.
The news may be disturbing, but you’ll also discover an easy way to reverse some of the damage. And I’ll even tell you about a bonus you could get from cutting your TV time.
The first study looked at 4,512 Scottish men. Researchers divided them into three groups, based on how much time they spent watching TV or playing on the computer. Those with 4 hours of daily “screen time” were more than twice as likely to suffer a serious heart problem than those who had less than 2 hours a day.1
The second study was much larger – looking at over 123,000 men and women for 14 years. In this study, people who spent 6 hours or more a day sitting down had up to a 48% greater risk of dying from heart problems than those who sat for less than 3 hours a day.2
The researchers also discovered that sitting for 6 hours a day increased your risk of heart trouble even if you exercised.
The third study got into the details. They found that several risk factors were closely linked to how much time people spent sitting. Waist size, HDL cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP), triglyceride levels – and several other risk factors for heart problems – all increased along with time spent sitting.3
But these researchers also discovered something else important. There’s an easy way to cut your risk. Taking breaks from sitting – even as little as a minute at a time – cuts your risk. It especially improves waist size and CRP levels.
“Our research showed that even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute,” lead author, Genevieve Healy, said, “might help to lower this health risk.”
Just standing up for a minute every so often cuts your risk. That’s easy enough to do. Here are some of Dr. Healy’s other suggestions:
- At work, use a restroom on a different level of the building. If your building has only one level, don’t use the closest restroom to your workspace.
- Instead of calling or e-mailing a nearby co-worker, walk over and talk to them.
- When you make or receive a phone call, stand up while you’re talking.
- Always use the stairs instead of the elevator.
You can cut your risk at home, too. Instead of sitting through commercial breaks, take care of little chores. Empty or load the dishwasher… take out the trash… anything that gets you moving for a minute or more is helpful.
Keep a set of dumbbells nearby. You can use them to exercise gently during commercial breaks… or take exercise breaks while you’re on the computer.
If you’re hooked on video games, get a system that’s motion-activated. (There are several.) Use one of the many exercise-related games. They’re geared to let you play at your own fitness level… and they can be a lot of fun.
And here’s that bonus I mentioned.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that keeping active is good for your brain, as well as your heart.
Your hippocampus – part of your brain related to memory – shrinks with age. But the mature adults in this study who exercised actually experienced hippocampus growth… and improved memory performance.4
The bottom line? Get off the couch as often as you can. That doesn’t mean you have to give up TV – or surfing the Web. But when you are sitting in front of a screen, take breaks as often as you can… and simply move. The benefits are huge.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Stamatakis E, et al. Screen-Based Entertainment Time, All-Cause Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events,
Population-Based Study With Ongoing Mortality and Hospital Events Follow-Up. J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011; 57:292-299.
2 Patel AV, et al. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2010) 172 (4): 419-429.
3 Healy GN, et al. Sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in US adults: NHANES 2003–06. Eur Heart J (2011), doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq451, First published online: January 11, 2011.
4 Erickson KI, et al. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print January 31, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108.