7 Things To Make Watching TV Healthier for YOU

Time to tackle a tough topic here. TV watching — and what YOU can do to make it healthier. So much has been written about how bad TV watching CAN be for you. I can list a bunch of statistics and studies to show that watching TV can expand your waistline, rob you of sleep, cost you money, take you away from the people around you, shorten your life, damage relationships, result in less satisfaction in life, influence your world view, aid in eating junk food, may increase aggression, increases your risk of diabetes, impairs your ability to think rationally and overall, just plain and simple — it is bad for your health.

Did you know the average American watches nearly 5 hours of TV a day!! That is 35 hours a week, 1,820 hours a year OR the equivalent of nearly 76 days a year. That is over 2 months of watching TV per year!!

As you can imagine, IF you are spending more than 1/6 of your year doing ANYTHING, it will have a profound affect on you!!

But, there is good news… and here are my tips for improving your health, as you watch TV.

1. Drink more water and (wait for it….) less beer.

  • The average adult needs to drink about ½ gallon of water a day.
  • Drinking water while watching TV will decrease hunger for junk food.

2. Eat more fruits or vegetables for snacks, eliminate the chips and other junk foods.

  • It is always good to eat healthy snacks and avoid sugar, chips and fatty foods.

3. During commercials (or pause the DVR every 20-25 minutes) and move move move.

  • Sit to stands or squats (challenge someone to see who can do the most).
  • Alternate crunches and push-ups each break (any amount beats none).
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Do burpees (challenge someone to a contest!).
  • Go for a walk around the block (10 minutes is better than none - and talk about what you have been watching to make it a cognitive activity vs mindless).
  • Just simply move your arms up and down, alternate lifting your knees to your chest, twist from side to side - (all done slowly not to an extreme!!)

4. Watch an actual TV and avoid tablets or laptops, as it is easier on your eyes.

  • Watching a laptop or tablet up close can cause eye strain and a temporary condition called “digital eye strain” causing undue stress to your eyes

5. Interact with those around you.

  • Asking questions, getting their opinions and perspectives to stimulate critical thinking (so watching will not be so mindless and un-relational).

6. Sit on an exercise ball instead of the couch or recliner.

  • Using an exercise ball engages your core muscles, can help with trunk stability and balance, along with avoiding a totally passive sitting position.

7. Change your viewing habits just a little.

So there you have it my friends, Dean’s list of the 7 things you can do to make watching TV more beneficial in your life.

Dean Volk PT, MPT
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