Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Employee Health: Healthy TV-Watching Tips

This blog was written by TJ McAloon. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can't have your cake and eat it too”? Well, try this new one on for size: “You can have your television shows and still be healthy.”

television, couch potato, corporate healthToo Much TV Shown to Cause Health Problems

That dancing program that eats up two hours a night during the week? Go ahead and watch it. That reality dating show that you cannot miss out on because you are invested in the guy bachelor giving out his last flower to your favorite girl contestant? Go ahead and watch that, too! Yes, you can have your cake and eat it; you can watch all of these programs and stay away from heart or cardiovascular problems.  

A study reported that sitting in front of a television or computer screen for more than four hours a night made people more at risk for heart attacks, strokes, or other serious cardiovascular diseases. However, those who cut those hours in half have less than half the risk of those problems.

Avoiding the Health Pitfalls of TV Watching

So how can you still watch all of your shows, update your Facebook status and Twitter feed, and stay healthy?

  • Watch shows on your own schedule. For starters, the days of “must-see TV” are gone. Try using your digital video recorder (DVR) to save shows for later viewings. Using this feature will cut those 30- to 60-minute programs in half. If you do not have the luxury of a DVR, don’t worry. There are multiple options out there to catch you up on your programs so that you are not the social outcast in your circle of friends.
  • Snack healthier. The second option is to eat healthier snacks while watching television. Is your usual choice chips or popcorn? Yeah, those are not helping your heart any. Try eating carrot or celery sticks. If those do not sound appealing, try a granola bar or trail mix.
  • Walk around more. Use the first option of the DVR or catching up on shows online at a later time. From the study highlighted on CNN, many of us also spend our working lives sitting at a desk and commuting behind the wheel of a car. Researcher Emmanuel Stamatakis says, "We have taken sitting as a default position for many, many things. I don't think that our bodies are made for this, and the reaction to this is all these adverse physiological and chemical consequences." The easy way to fix this problem is to go for a walk, run, jog, or stroll around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or park during your free time.
  • Exercise while you watch. There is also the option of multitasking. While catching your favorite guilty pleasure, do some jumping jacks or core exercises!

Yes, you can have that healthy, long life that you want to have while enjoying the television shows that you cannot miss out on. But, just like everything in life, you must enjoy it in moderation. You can still have your cake and eat it too.

Topics: employee health disease prevention exercise at home