How would you like to dramatically reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke while hardly lifting a finger?
Well, the fact is that you can do just that. And although it’s killing me to write it, I’m going to share the secret of how with you right now.
Step away from this screen. Turn it off and go do anything else but sit in front of another computer monitor or TV screen in your house. Well, that is if you’re spending four or more hours a day doing it. Allow me to explain.
A new report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adults that spend more than four hours per day in front of a screen are at a 113% increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. And your risk of death from any cause jumps a dramatic 50% when you surpass four hours of screen time!
Now, to be clear I should explain that scientists feel it’s actually the sitting that you’re doing while watching television or surfing the Internet that’s the real culprit here. To make matters worse, the experts say that no matter how much exercise you get when you’re not in front of the screen it may not be able to compensate for the time sitting on your posterior.
The good news is that this doesn’t mean you can’t watch your favorite TV program or spend some time reading your favorite e-letter (and yes, I DO, of course, mean this one). It simply means that you need to become more aware of how much time you spend sitting and start cutting down on that sedentary time.
Your goal should be to drop your screen time down as far below the four-hour mark as you can while still allowing yourself to spend some time online or watching your favorite programs. (Yes, it’s our old friend moderation back for a visit.)
And while more research needs to be done, it seems pretty obvious that if you break up your sitting-in-front-of-a-screen time with some mild movement, such as, for example, walking around or gently stretching, you’re going to be better off. This could be especially important for those of us who need to spend a fair amount of time sitting in front of a screen for work purposes.
In the end, it’s a really simple formula: Less sitting plus increased movement equals a healthier heart and longer lived you. And, no, moving the television a bit farther away from the refrigerator doesn’t really count here.
“Screen-Based Entertainment Time, All-Cause Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events,” J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011; 57:292-299, doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.05.065