The Jackson Heart Study, the latest research on “sitting as the main cause of cardiac-related diseases and death” has shed new light on the matter.
And this time, the study has found binge TV watchers to be at a higher risk than staff who sit in offices.
These findings were reported by the AHA, the watchdog for heart-related diseases in the US.
“Sitting for a prolonged time glued to your TV raises the risk of cardiac diseases and premature death, whereas sitting at a workplace does not have the same consequences,” the American Heart Association wrote in a Journal.
According to the Keith Diaz, the lead author, and a professor at NY.-based Columbia University, these results came as a shock because even the research crew went in with the notion that sitting has similar effects, whether at the workplace or while glued to your home screen.
“It seems like whatever you do after office hours has an impact on your heart health. We found that those who worked out and went to gyms during their free time reduced the risks tied to TV watching,” Diaz said.
Many Americans are Binge Television Viewers
So how many Americans should worry about these new results?
The researchers scrutinized data from over 3,500 inhabitants of Mississippi, particularly in Jackson. The subjects were asked to state the periods they spend in front of their screens per day, how much they sat at their workplace, and how much time per week they spent on a workout.
An entire 30 percent, admitted binge-viewing for over four hours per day. On the “safe” side, however, were a whole 43 percent who reported they always or often sat at their workplace.
These cardiac-related health risks of binge-viewing significantly went down when individuals spared 2 ½ hours or more on workout every week. Simple exercises like jogging, walking, riding a bike running and swimming eliminated these risks.
Why Bing-viewing is Risky
Diaz and his team had two theories to explain why spending more time in front of your home screen is riskier than sitting at the workplace.
Theory #1; Office sitting involves a lot of moving around, from desk to desk, and accomplishing other tasks. Earlier studies have shown that taking such “sitting breaks” can eliminate the risks of sitting.
Well, this may not be the case when you sit down on your cozy couch with your remote, and no duty is calling.
Theory #2; It’s all about the timing.
Binge-viewing in the evening, especially after a heavy meal, could put the heart in danger. Taking a large dinner and not involving your muscles in any activities poses a health risk.
Our muscles are lipid and blood sugar regulators, but they must be triggered to work, and motion is one way to trigger them.
How to Stay Safe While Binge-viewing
- Workout or exercise if you can’t give up binge-viewing. 2 ½ hrs/week is okay.
- Take sitting breaks while binge-viewing. Stand and walk around after every half an hour.