Binge Watching May Be Harmful to Your Health
By Stacey Ross
A few months back, my in-laws encouraged my husband and me to enjoy a date night, so we dropped the kids off at their grandparents for our “night on the town.” But instead of dining or taking a moonlight stroll on the beach, we made a beeline for the living room (how exciting, right?) and binge watched House of Cards. And oh, was our “fix” worth it!
Netflix, LoveFilm, Hulu — all coveted examples of on-demand and instant-gratification entertainment that can tempt our willpower yet, on the other hand, give us the opportunity to indulge if we darned well want to! And, thanks to our mobile devices, we don’t even need to be at home for our fix (I mean our movie marathon fun!).
What are the risks?
However, according to a new study, spending hours in front of the TV may pose a health risk. Research published in the Journal of American Heart Association found that adults who watch TV for three or more hours a day can double their risk of early death compared to viewers who watch less TV.
“Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality,” Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors.”
The study, surveying over 13,000 adults, found the risk of death was two times higher for participants who reported watching three or more hours of TV a day. Clearly, it supports The American Heart Association, which recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week with a mix of moderate to high muscle strengthening two days a week.
Just keep movin’!
So, yes, I got the bug, but it doesn’t have to be that bad! Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Downtown Abbey, Star Trek (any version), Mad Men, Doctor Who … the list of the most popular shows that people binge on can also serve as incentives for better exercise plans (not counting those trips to the refrigerator!). The shows can wait for your health, in other words!
We are all good, so long as we get up and keep moving, and keep in mind that a sedentary lifestyle is the issue at hand here, not watching excellent entertainment!
So the moral of the story: Grab some organic snacks and some iced tea and enjoy the luxury of really good home entertainment, but keep on movin’, too! In the words of House of Cards’ Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey: “There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth.”
Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.