Aside from making you unproductive, it looks like being a couch potato can also increase your risk of getting a deadly blood clot.
While this is a risk TV junkies willingly take by being inactive for long periods, even people who regularly exercise can get blood clots while watching television. According to a study, people who “get [their] recommended levels of physical activity” are still at risk of getting a blood clot, and that the risk was 1.8 times higher among those who say they watch TV “very often” compared to those who say they watch TV “never or seldom.” (Related: Too Much TV Viewing Linked to Weight Gain.)
Dr. Mary Cushman, who is from the University of Vermont Medical Centre and the co-author of the study, said, “TV itself isn’t likely bad, but we tend to snack and sit still for prolonged periods while watching.” The researchers observed data gathered from 15,158 middle-aged participants in the U.S. who were 45 to 64.
The study looked at blood clots in veins of the legs, arms, pelvis, and lungs known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). The study, which was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, revealed that even though obesity was more common in people who watched more TV, at least 25 percent of the increased risk could be due to the presence of obesity.
Dr. Cushman explained, “Think about how you can make the best use of your time to live a fuller and healthier life.” She continued, “You could put a treadmill or stationary bike in front of your TV and move while watching.”
She offered another suggestion, which is to delay the time you spend watching TV by taking a walk. If you have to see your favorite shows, record them instead while you’re out on a walk. This will cut out the ads, shortening the time you spend watching TV.
Dr. Cushman added, “Health professionals should take the time to ask patients about their fitness and sedentary time, such as prolonged sitting watching TV or at a computer. If you are at heightened risk of venous thromboembolism due to a recent operation, pregnancy or recent delivery, cancer or a previous clot, your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medication or advise you to wear compression stockings.”
Exercises to try while watching TV
If you can’t quit your shows and you have to find out what happens in the next episode, consider doing some of these exercises to stay active while watching TV:
- Walk in place — If you’re worried about overexerting yourself, start with walking in place while you catch up on your favorite show. You won’t even need expensive equipment for this activity. You can rest during commercials.
- Try doing a circuit training routine while watching TV — You can set up “stations” if your living room is big enough to do some cardio routines in while you’re watching TV.
- Do as many push-ups as you can — While you’re watching an episode of your favorite show, try to see how many push-ups you can do. You can also do this during commercials breaks first so you don’t get too tired, then do them for whole episodes once you’re stronger. Try to beat your previous record to make this a challenging activity.
- Do lunges — Try doing some lunges while you’re channel surfing. You can do them in place, or you try some walking lunges around the room if you want to be more active while watching television.
- Keep things interesting — It’s boring to keep watching several episodes for the same show, and it’s the same with exercise. Switch from documentaries to news or a sitcom, and make sure to switch exercises so you won’t get bored of repeating the same activity.
You can read more articles about how to stay active at Slender.news.