Do you hit the couch to watch TV right after your dinner? If so, think twice, researchers say it is unhealthy.
A new study has found that sitting in front of the TV right after dinner for a longer period is not good for your health.
Too much sitting has long been associated with health risks, and this new study suggests that it is especially unhealthy.
Researchers found that those who sat for long hours had 50 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke and early death than those who did not do that.
Lead researcher Keith Diaz said, “It’s the combination of dinner and sitting on the couch watching TV for hours afterward that we think can be very toxic.”
He said, “Sitting in front of the TV is different from sitting at work.”
“At work, we get up and move often – we go to a co-worker’s desk, we go to the bathroom, to the copy machine, etc. But when we sit and watch TV, we tend not to move for hours at a time. That type of sitting is the most hazardous type of sitting,” explained Diaz.
The researchers found that spending hours in front of the TV right after dinner increases blood sugar and cholesterol. Since muscles are inactive, they fail to get rid of sugar and fat from the blood vessels. These are the reasons why Diaz suspects such type of sitting is lethal.
However, Diaz cautioned that the study does not prove that sitting in front of the TV for long hours or uninterrupted periods causes stroke, heart attack, or premature death. Instead, the study has found that there is a link.
Diaz said, “The last thing you should do after a big meal is sit down and watch TV for hours. Go out for a 10- to 20-minute walk and then sit down.”
The study looked at more than 3,600 Mississippians for approximately nine years. The participants reported how much time they spent sitting in front of the TV and doing work, along with their exercise habits.
The researchers found that the participants who watched TV for more than four hours had a 50 percent higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death than those who watched TV for less than two hours a day. The researchers also found that those who sat for a longer period at the office has the same risk.
The study was published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Diaz said, “But even the most devoted couch potatoes could reduce their risk by getting a little exercise.” For those who spent a lot of time in front of the TV, exercising for 150 minutes a week helped removed the health risk.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow, an American Heart Association spokesman and professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “These findings reinforce current recommendations to reduce time spent sitting and to engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity spread throughout the week.” Dr. Fonarow said, “Moderate intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour), dancing, gardening, doubles tennis and biking. Even light intensity physical activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary. These findings reinforce the advice to ‘move more and sit less.’”