Most Americans would admit they are guilty of watching too much TV on the regular. In fact, with the amount of time spent in front of our widescreens, it would be really nice if binging our favorite shows could count as exercise. It's definitely very easy to go through several episodes of a favorite series and lose track of time. Who wants to wait an entire week to see what's happening to their favorite characters when it's not necessary? Besides, this time of year is an incredibly cozy season to hop on your couch and snuggle up with your favorite blanket and the remote after a long day's work.
The global coronavirus pandemic greatly contributed to a distinct rise in this overindulgence with a sharp increase in more time spent at home. Not only are families working at home, but leisure hours increased from 5 hours in 2019 to 5.5 hours on the daily in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When you think about it, when working from home, we are not spending time commuting, nor are we stopping to do errands or meeting friends to get social with after work. And while we are spending more time at home, what are we doing, exactly? Well, according to a recent study, we are watching our favorite shows. Read on to learn more and why this daily habit is pretty detrimental to your health and overall well-being. And next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Downtime on the couch could be putting you at risk for a serious health issue
From 2015 to 2019, people in West Virginia viewed the most TV — over 3.8 hours per day, to be exact. Alaska had the lowest number of hours, which was around 1.8 hours per day.
What you don't know, but should, is that this relaxing bit of downtime on the sofa could be putting you at risk for a serious health problem that you need to be aware of ASAP. So put down that remote, and put away the buttered popcorn, because you'll want to be in the know about this concerning development.
There's a link between experiencing blood clots and watching too much TV
A new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology states that there's a link between experiencing blood clots and watching too much television every day. In fact, the risk is 35% higher when watching as much as 4 hours or longer of TV per day, compared to 2.5 hours or less per day. Pretty scary, right?
"Our study findings also suggested that being physically active does not eliminate the increased risk of blood clots associated with prolonged TV watching," says lead author Dr. Setor Kunutsor of the University of Bristol, UK.
Kunustor explains the reasoning for the correlation is that while watching television for a long period of time, you are immobile, which can put you at risk for VTE (venous thrombosis). This occurs when a blood clot is situated deep inside a vein, possibly in your thigh, lower leg, or pelvis, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition is a very serious one and could potentially lead to disability or death, but you can prevent it.
Taking breaks to stretch is key
Let's admit, watching television will always be a favorite, fun form of mindless entertainment. It's comfortable, it's company in the room with us, and we don't have to think or even react if we don't want to. But it's definitely important to set a limit with how much time is spent doing this.
"If you are going to binge on TV you need to take breaks," Kunustor says. "You can stand and stretch every 30 minutes or use a stationary bike. And avoid combining television with unhealthy snacking." Your body will thank you, and by budgeting your time, you can be productive doing something else you enjoy, like meditating, taking a walk around the block, or even stretching it out in a yoga flow.
For more Mind + Body news, check out The #1 Reason Why You're Always So Tired, According to Science and This Is The Cheapest City In The U.S. To Live A Healthy Lifestyle, New Study Says next.