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This Habit Could Be Quickening Your Ageing Process

Watching TV is a great way to relax after a long day or just on the weekend, but if you get into the habit of doing it regularly, you'll be surprised how much it negatively affects how your body ages. A new study published in JAMA magazine and based on a study of more than 45,000 people aged 50 and over a period of 20 years, showed that the time you spend sitting in front of the television may have a negative effect on your health over the years and the aging process itself, disrupting it, and so it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the findings so that you can prevent this damage to yourself.

The study checked and found: watching TV harms healthy aging

The researchers looked at how much time people spent sitting at work and at home, including the time they spent watching television, as well as the time they spent standing or walking at work and at home. They compared the findings that came up with information about the aging of the researched, with the definition of healthy aging being living up to the age of 70 in optimal health in four different categories:
  • Without chronic diseases
  • Without subjective memory problems
  • No physical problems
  • Without deterioration in mental health
mature man watching tv
The study concluded that for every two hours of sitting in front of the television, there was a 12% decrease in the chances of the patients to age healthily. At the same time, the study also revealed that two hours of light physical activity while working increased the chances of healthy aging by 6%. People who replaced one hour of sitting in front of the TV with one hour of light physical activity showed significantly higher chances of aging healthily.

 WHY does watching TV harm your health as you get older?

In the end, everything comes back to the problem that we've all heard of and which is called "sitting" - a lifestyle that includes prolonged sitting throughout the day. The problem with watching TV is that it is an activity that people often do while sitting. This is why the study examined this habit individually, since prolonged sitting is linked to poor health and, unfortunately, even premature death.
Another study published in 2017 examined, for example, the amount of time people spend sitting and showed that the longer they sat, the higher their risk of premature death rose. Scientists warn that even people who exercise regularly are at risk of heart disease and stroke due to prolonged sitting, with the average person in Western society spending between six to eight hours a day sitting. "We have enough evidence that spending a lot of time sitting is linked to health outcomes that are not optimal," says Dr. Catherine N. Blentkin, lecturer in nutrition and fitness sciences at the University of Buffalo in New York.
As mentioned, most people watch television while sitting, and this takes away time in which they could be more active. Moreover, "it is known that people who spend a lot of time sitting are more likely to engage in other activities that are not healthy, such as eating unhealthy foods, consuming a high amount of calories and other unhealthy habits. Many other things increase the risk of disease, including diabetes and heart disease," says Dr. Scott Kaiser, a geriatrician from Santa Monica. Dr. Barbara Bower, a family physician from Ohio University, also adds that prolonged sitting increases the risk of blood clots. She even points out: "Swelling in the legs can be caused by blood pooling in the feet, which causes pain over time and eventually also infections."
man fallen asleep in front of tv no couch

How to be more active throughout the day and while watching TV

If you work at an office, your options are quite limited, since you probably have to sit for long hours. However, Dr. Blentkin recommends splitting the sitting time and creating pauses for standing and movement. "You can walk or stretch," she recommends. Dr. Kaiser says you don't have to stop watching TV altogether, but you do need to be more active while you're watching it - "Get up and walk around during commercial breaks," he recommends.
Dr. Kimberly Prado, a lecturer in the School of Nursing at Rutgers University, recommends walking on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike while watching if you have one at home, or doing resistance exercises. "You can continue to enjoy television while strengthening your muscles and bones," she says.
Dr. Bower has another important tip, and that is to try not to eat while watching TV, this is because when you are busy watching you pay much less attention to the amounts of food you put into your body and to your specific feelings of hunger and satiety. If you still want to eat in front of the TV, Dr. Blentkin recommends eating from a bowl or plate instead of directly from the bag or box; this way you can limit yourself in advance and even before you sit down to watch TV.
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