Study on TV & risk of death|Take a 2nd look at the variables, you may be affected

Posted on January 15, 2010


You probably saw the most recent study to be released about TV watching & increased risk for death. If not, read this to get up-to-date. The study outlines how watching television for an extended period of time per day correlated to an increased risk of early death. This held true even in people who exercised for 30-45mins per day. The study looked at several factors, and determined that it appears to be the prolonged period of sitting & inactivity that raises the risk of dying.

It also did not matter what the people were watching so there was no correlation to, watching violent shows & early death, for example. So if “prolonged sitting”, defined here in segments like ‘from 2-4 hours’ or ‘for 4 or more hours’ (seems unfathomable, but hey, someone’s doing it), causes an increase in early death – you can bet that there is a strong probability that “prolonged sitting” in other areas of your life may increase your risk of early death too.

Have your ears perked up desk jockeys? How about you, live-in-your-car commuters?

We work at desks & on couches on laptops longer than ever, and it is not doing us any favors. In this study, prolonged sitting showed to lower the HDL cholesterol in our blood stream, as well as reduced the amount of lipase in the blood stream, which is the enzyme that takes fat from the bloodstream. Neither of which is a very good thing if long life & good health are your goals.

I know there are many who would be thrilled to have a job to be sitting at for long hours these days, but job seekers, you’re not immune either- you’re probably sitting at the computer for long hours searching for employment & this too will have a similar effect to the study. The small daily life movements that disappear once we slide into our desk chair or couch corner seem like a small loss, but they really make a big difference to the chemical processes of your body.

Remember, at the heart of things, you are a cave man or woman & your body has not evolved so far that it knows when you’re in “idle” mode, just taking a short break from peak performance to watch some TV, or if you’re in need of a permanent alteration to the speed & quality of your chemical processes that keep you alive.

Failing to send regular signals to your body that it should grow, move, replenish its cells is dangerous to your health. But you also want to enjoy the latest double episode of “The Office” & “30 Rock”. Or the reply, “Taking the 3 hours it will take to complete this ridiculous report you’re asking for is going to reduce my lipase” simply won’t fly with your boss. So what’s a person to do?

Do the 100 Rep Series or the 45:5 split to keep some small basic movement in your day & to keep your butt regularly rising up to move around.

The 100 Rep Series – over the course of the morning shift of work, get 100 reps of something in. Same goes for the afternoon. So it may be cubicle pushups with your hands on your desk, or chair squats in your cube – oh c’mon, you know you don’t care what your cube mates think about what you do, you’ve already gotten way too comfortable with them anyways.

The 45:5 split – Every 45 mins, get up from your desk or the couch & stretch for 5 mins. Upper body, lower body, calves, shoulders, anywhere & everywhere. Take that time to also break your brain away from the task at hand & think about or do something else. Your mind will be refreshed when you go back to your project, and if you’re simply laying on the couch, this will prevent muscle cramps from laying in one position for a prolonged period.

No one is saying you need to go out & buy a farm so you can keep regular physical movement in your day. But you need to consider just how long you sit for any one portion of the day & what you can do to balance that out with physical exertion so that your body stays in tip-top function for decades to come.

Posted in: optimal health