We all know watching too much television is really, really bad for you. It damages your eyes (especially if you’re sitting in a dark room), and scientists have previously linked it to antisocial behavior, lowered verbal IQ and altered brain structure. Not to mention binge-watching Netflix involves a lot of sitting around, which is really bad for your body, and the bright light of the screen and overstimulation of rapid-fire images makes it harder for you to fall asleep, and sleep—we’re learning—is critical to health in pretty much every way. Studies have also shown that people tend to do more “distracted eating” while watching TV, which means it can also make you fat, and if that’s not enough, other studies have found links between binge watching and depression/loneliness.
Now, all of that may be really, really bad for you, but it’s not fatal. Now, a new study published in Springer’s Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis says that, actually, it kind of is.
Yasuhiko Kubota of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues analyzed data from 15,158 Americans aged between 45 and 64 who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), an ongoing population-based prospective study of blood-flow related diseases which began in 1987.
The results found that those who watch television excessively (which is often defined as more than 2 hours per day), were almost twice as likely to develop fatal blood clots known as venous thrombosis thanks to the prolonged sitting that accompanies binge watching. If the subject was overweight and led a relatively sedentary life, the risks were even higher.
Even among those who exercise, however, the effects of prolonged sitting could not simply be counterbalanced by a a few hours at the gym.
“These results suggest that even individuals who regularly engage in physical activity should not ignore the potential harms of prolonged sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing,” adds Kubota. “Avoiding frequent TV viewing, increasing physical activity and controlling body weight might be beneficial to prevent [venous thromboembolism].”
There’s so much you could be doing out there that’s way more fun than sitting around at home eating junk and watching garbage. Why not check out a fitness vacation or cross one of these awesome experiences off of your bucket list? You’ve only got one life!
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