A new study says that it affects how you age

The Associated Press

Swapping out time in front of the TV for physical activity might not sound like the most fun trade, but it is associated with significantly better chances of healthy aging, according to a new study.
For this study, researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study of more than 45,000 people age 50 or older in 1992 who were also free of chronic disease, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Each additional two hours of sitting to watch TV was associated with a 12% decrease in the chances of aging in a healthy way, the study showed.
On the other hand, adding two hours of light physical activity at work added a 6% increase in the odds of healthy aging.
Replacing one hour of sitting to watch TV with light physical activity at home or work was associated with better chances of healthy aging, the study showed.
“You’re missing out on all that physical activity, which is truly an unbelievable way to reduce cardiovascular risk and blood pressure,” Freeman said.
You don’t have to outlaw sitting or watching TV, however.
Maybe try pairing TV with healthy behaviors such as watching while moving or eating a nutritious snack, he said.


While it may not seem like the most enjoyable trade-off, a recent study found that engaging in physical activity instead of watching TV is linked to notably higher odds of healthy aging.

The key finding of the study, according to senior study author Dr. Molin Wang, an associate professor of medicine in the department of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. School of Medicine, is that switching from watching TV to light to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sleep (for participants with insufficient sleep) is beneficial to healthy aging. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, said the results are not shocking because numerous studies have demonstrated the negative effects of sedentary behavior on health. Freeman did not take part in this investigation.

The study, which was published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included over 45,000 participants who were 50 years of age or older in 1992 and did not have any chronic illnesses.

Over a 20-year period, researchers monitored people’s hours spent sitting at work, at home, and while watching television, as well as their hours spent standing or strolling at work and home. Their aging data was analyzed along with that data.

According to the study, healthy aging was defined as reaching at least 70 years old and preserving at least four healthy domains, such as physical and mental health, free from major chronic diseases, and unimpaired subjective memory.

According to the study, there was a 12 percent drop in the likelihood of aging healthily for every extra two hours spent watching TV while sitting. Conversely, increasing the amount of light physical activity to two hours at work increased the likelihood of aging healthily by 6%.

The study found that the likelihood of aging healthily increased when one hour of TV-watching was substituted with light physical activity at work or at home.

Freeman observed, “Vegging out in front of the television seems to always be associated with worse outcomes.”. Humans were not designed to spend their entire lives in front of a screen, which makes physiological sense. “.

He continued, “The more we sit, the more problems we get, especially as we get older.”.

Why is sitting such a bad idea?

There is a link between sitting time and early death from all causes, according to a 2017 study. Additionally, research from 2023 suggests that spending time inactive as a child may raise the chance of developing heart disease in the future.

According to him, the issue is worse when eating a lot of salt—which is common in American diets—without moving around enough to allow fluid to circulate.

These frequently harmful behaviors coexist.

TV viewing “usually brings with it all these other comorbid activities, like TV dinners, eating junk food, failing to socialize, and it can even interfere with sleep,” according to Freeman.

There are fewer opportunities to get outside and be active when one spends time sitting at a desk or on the couch in the living room.

“All that exercise you could be getting is really an amazing method to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk,” Freeman stated.

How to break free from sedentary behavior.

If you work in an office eight, ten, or even twelve hours a day, you may find it challenging to fit in more movement.

“I strongly advise you to look into getting a standing desk at work, or even a treadmill desk if you have the space and can manage it,” Freeman stated.

If that’s not feasible, he suggested doing things like holding walking meetings or getting up frequently.

“In my opinion, if you’re sitting still for longer than half an hour, you should try to get up and move around a little bit,” Freeman continued.

But you don’t have to forbid sitting or watching TV.

Perhaps combine watching TV with healthy activities like going for a walk while watching or having a wholesome snack, he suggested. Better yet, place boundaries around yourself.

“There are so many amazing tools and apps out there. A lot of people think of them as kid-friendly tools, but the truth is, they work just as well for adults,” Freeman stated. It’s kind of neat that it allows you to monitor your screen time and activity levels simultaneously on the same device. “.

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