The on-going coronavirus pandemic has changed everything that people once thought was normal even watching TV habits. Following the social distancing and isolation has made it extremely difficult to be active and energetic. In addition to this, spending time indoors is promoting people to follow a more ‘sedentary lifestyle’ which is directly damaging health.
Staying at home during the pandemic is increasing the time spent in front of the TV, watching online videos, playing video games, and video calling. The amount of increased screen time during this on-going coronavirus pandemic is largely ignored which is why people are at risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
The new study finds that cutting time to watch TV can make people more active and less likely to get sick. The researchers used data obtained from the UK Biobank, which was a study conducted between 2006 and 2010 to understand the environmental and genetic factors in the progression of a disease. In this new study, the research team searched for the lifestyle changes by going through the details of 490,966 people from middle to old age people i.e. 37 to 73 years. These participants were tracked from the year 2006 till 2018. They eliminate patients who had cancer or heart disease to remove the factor of underlying conditions affecting health.
So it left behind only those people which had no underlying health condition that could possibly worsen their health. Going through these details, the researchers were able to find a remarkable link.
People who used to watch TV for two hours or less were subjected to the least health risks. It also showed that 6% to 8% of deaths in heart patients were linked with their excessive TV watching time. It means reducing the TV time could potentially save all these people especially those with underlying medical conditions.
Furong Xu from the University of Rhode Island clarifies the link between watching TV and poor health. Contrary to popular public opinion, it is not the physical factor of watching TV that damages health. The risk factor is actually the sedentary lifestyle which is promoted by binge-watching the TV and spending hours in front of screens.
When people are watching television, they are least likely to move their body, which is why spending hours in front of the TV is never a good idea. This study gives an important message that physical health should never be ignored even during the on-going coronavirus pandemic when people are mostly home ridden.
People can surely get a break from stress and work to watch TV. But TV is probably not the only way to relax. There are many other healthy activities that could refresh a person’s mind. Why risk the health over something that is so easily replaceable?
Watching TV is only one type of sedentary habit, some other habits include watching videos on the mobile phone, spending hours at video calling, and using a laptop excessively. The risk for impaired health also increases when a person makes unhealthy dietary choices, smokes, drinks or uses opiates.
Those who spend more time in front of the TV eventually become lazy and their lifestyle changes to be more sedentary. This way the health risks for them increase. Cutting back these unhealthy habits can save a person from low immunity and poor health.