Binge Watching is Rolling Back the Clock on Your Life Expectancy
We are living in an era of peak TV. Last year, more than 1400 primetime TV shows were available via traditional TV methods as well as streaming networks like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It’s safe to say that there’s more TV to watch than ever. And unlike generations past, we don’t have to wait in agony to for next week’s episode. We can watch all of Narcos or American Horror Story all in one sitting. Binge watching is doing wonders for our enjoyment, but it could be affecting our life expectancy as well.
Officially, binge watching involves watching anywhere from two to six episodes of one show in a single sitting. According to an official Netflix survey, more than half of its subscribers are binge watchers. And odds are, they’re watching more six episodes at a time. Our Facebook timelines are cluttered with people bragging about watching an entire season of a show in one day. Little do they know they’re taking roughly 22 minutes off their life expectancy for every hour viewed.
The problem with binge watching is that it creates new health risks. A recent study published in the health journal Circulation revealed the disturbing results of a Japanese TV study. In the study, researchers spent 19 years following 86,000 people and their TV watching habits. 59 of the participants died, with pulmonary embolism as the cause.
For those who watched TV more than 2.5 hours a day, their risk of an embolism increased exponentially. Those who viewed between 2.5 and 5 hours of TV each day increased their risk by 70%. When you factor in that most cultures watch more TV than Japanese adults, the implications aren’t great.
Additionally, sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of issues like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. If you think you’re immune because you work out often, you’re not. You can still fall prey to these issues despite your fitness and nutrition habits.
Not to mention, binge watching can lead to addictive behavior. Instead of cozying up with that special someone for some quality time, you become engrossed in your favorite show. Before you know it, binge watching isn’t just affecting your physical health. Your emotional well-being could be at risk, too.
To make matters worse, numerous studies have tied binge watching to lack of self-control, depression, and even obesity.
However, there is some good news in this scenario. If you insist on watching multiple episodes at a time, there’s a way around the health risks. Instead of pushing straight through, take a break after every episode. During that break, stretch, walk or do simple exercises like push-ups to get the blood flowing. Better yet, stay active while you’re watching. Instead of watching with a bowl of popcorn and your most comfortable pillow, throw on an episode while you’re on the treadmill or stairmaster.
As much as you love your favorite TV shows, you’re probably not willing to die for them. It might pain you to wait, but consume your top series in small doses. Your body will thank you later.