Winter is here bringing a welcome break from school and work around the holidays. This can be an excellent time to catch up with friends and family and relax. For many people, this means hibernating on the couch with a bowl of snacks and binge watching their favorite shows. While this can be a fun and relaxing activity every once in a while, excessive TV binge watching can be extremely harmful for your health.
Symptoms that Indicate You Might Need to Watch Less TV
If you’re exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that you need to put the remote down and leave the TV off for a while.
You’ve gained weight
Most people expect to put on a couple of extra pounds around the holidays with all of the family get-togethers and tasty treats at every turn. One or two extra pounds is one thing, but if you’re not careful that can quickly lead to 10 or more and set you on your way to an unhealthy weight.
If you spend much of your time during the winter binge watching your favorite shows on Netflix®, you will be at a higher risk for gaining weight. Many people like to munch on their favorite junk foods including chips, candy, and ice cream while watching TV. Sure, these snacks are enjoyable and may go well with your shows, but they aren’t doing any favors for your waist line. High calorie, high carb, and high fat foods combined with sitting for prolonged periods of time, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to managing your weight.
If you’ve noticed you’ve been gaining a lot of weight at a rapid pace, it might be time to trade your TV marathons for some physical activity. Your body will thank you.
You’re feeling more and more depressed
There’s no denying the toll technology can take on your mental health. TV binge watching is no different. When you spend all of your time inside, alone watching episode after episode of your favorite show, your mental health is sure to take a hit.
You should spend time outdoors soaking up natural sunlight, being active, and interacting with others to help boost your mood and strengthen your overall mental health. Spending time with friends can help increase your sense of belonging and purpose, reduce stress, improve self-confidence, and even help to deter you from unhealthy behaviors like sitting for long periods of time and indulging in junk food.
Next time you’re tempted to waste another day in bed in front of the TV, call up a friend and go do something active instead!
You’ve been spending more time sitting than standing
If you’ve been spending most of your time sitting, then you should seriously consider changing your habits, as sitting is known to greatly increase mortality rate. This is because excessive sitting can contribute to countless serious medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, blood clots, and more. In fact, recent studies have shown that watching 7 or more hours of TV each day can increase an individual’s mortality rate by a whopping 61%!
Instead of spending your entire day watching Netflix® in bed, watch an episode or two and then do something active like going for a walk, hitting the gym, or even doing a few jumping jacks to get your blood circulating. If you have a treadmill or exercise bike at home, you can even use them while watching your favorite shows, or better yet – watch it on your phone while working out at the gym!
You’re tired all the time and slacking at work
“I’ll just watch one more episode and then I’ll go to bed.”
How often have you told this lie to yourself? You say you’ll just watch one more episode, and then one turns to two and before you know it you’ve pulled an all-nighter and need to go to work running on little to no sleep.
When you deprive yourself of sleep in favor of TV you’ll not only make yourself tired, but you’ll hurt your overall health and well-being as well. When you give up sleep you may be able to watch more episodes of your favorite show – but is it really worth it? The next day you’ll likely lack energy, motivation, and the ability to concentrate and retain information.
So the next time you choose to watch “one more episode” ask yourself, “Is it worth feeling terrible tomorrow?”
Your eyes hurt and you’re having more headaches than usual
Regardless of whether you watch your favorite shows on a television, phone, or computer, your eyes will be exposed to bright lights. After watching for prolonged periods of time, this can be very harmful to your health.
One of the most common ailments caused by overexposure to technology is strained vision. Because screens are so bright, they can cause your eyes to burn and water which can result in blurry vision. In addition, prolonged exposure to bright lights can increases your eyes’ sensitivity to light which can lead to persistent headaches.
To help reduce your exposure, make sure you dim the brightness on your television, phones, and computers. Also, limit your screen time to no more than a couple of hours each day.
So this winter, fight the urge to bundle up in front of the TV and opt for engaging activities that will keep you lively, social and most importantly - healthy!