Don't just sit there if you rack up a lot of screen time. Try multitasking while watching TV! (Photo by Sara Forrest)
Talk about a shocking statistic: Each additional hour spent watching TV after age 25 can cut your lifespan by 22 minutes, Australian researchers say. Hold up—are you serious scientists? My addiction to The Biggest Loser and (OK, I admit it) The Bachelorette could be shortening my life?
If you dig a little deeper in the study, you'll find that the link between tube time and longevity is most likely not direct—so it could also be attributed to a habit of snacking on junk food while watching. Or perhaps the link isn't causal, but those who aren't as healthy or are inactive to begin with watch more TV, so they may have shorter lifespans. More research is needed to determine the real explanation, but many people agree that there is something about the allure of a couch, a clicker and some fun distraction after a long day...
I haven't had a TV for more than a year (thank goodness for online shows!) and do miss zoning out in front of Bravo or getting ready in the morning with The Today Show on in the background catching me up on the news. But now I've found that when I do watch shows, I'm nearly always multitasking. I pop in a workout DVD to share the computer screen with the latest episode or prepare a healthy dinner while I watch. Then if I need some true vegging out, I turn my electronics off and grab a book or magazine. Who knows if that will actually help me live longer, but it at least lets me feel a bit better about my chances of making it to 100!
For more easy ways to add years to your life, click here.
Now tell us: How much TV do you watch? Will this research change your viewing habits?