Binge watching your favourite show? It may have some long-term effect on your body

We are generation of watchers – we spend most of our free time watching videos on YouTube or the latest shows on TV. It is nothing new – it has been like that for quite some time already. However, now people sometimes take pride about binge watching series or videos. What effect does it have on your health? A new study from The University of Queensland has revealed the answer, but you won‘t like it.

Scientists say that binge watching should be addressed early to avoid negative long-term effects. Image credit: Julian Tysoe via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

So it goes like this – a new season is coming out and you don’t remember every detail leading to that cliff-hanger you saw on the last episode. What can you do? You decide to just rewatch the entire season before seeing the new one. And you do it with greed – just an episode after episode after episode. Sometimes you spend four hours in front of a screen just methodically inhaling every detail you technically already saw. Of course, you do know it is not good for you – you’re not moving for hours. But what effect does it have exactly?

Scientists from The University of Queensland have found that the amount of time older adults spend watching TV now could have a long-term impact on their health. What is that effect? Mostly reduced lower-body muscle strength – you’re not moving at all for the most part afterall. But there are other problems too, if you enjoy snacking while watching TV or drinking beer.

Researchers analysed data from almost 2000 participants in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, aged from 47 to 85. They were interested in people’s TV watching behaviour over the course of 12 years. 5.2 % of the participants spent as much as 30 hours a week watching TV. That’s almost as much as people spent in their jobs. Scientists performed a variety of tests and they showed similar results – people who spent a lot of time watching shows and videos were not in a good shape.

For example, they did significantly worse in knee extensor strength test. Scientists say that prolonged time of sitting in front of a screen should be addressed early in life, when such behaviour can be changed relatively easily. Children often spend hours just watching something and their parents think that they simply have nothing better to do. Thinking that children will change when they have to take care of themselves is flawed, because at that time their binge watching days will already have strong impact on their physical health.

Most of us are guilty of this – binge watching is quite popular past time activity. However, we should remember to exercise and maintain an active lifestyle. Not only it will make us healthier, but it will also brighten our mood.


Source: The University of Queensland

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