According to a 2013 study conducted online, approximately 61 percent of Americans binge watch televisions shows on a regular basis. It's a great way to relax and catch up on missed episodes or whole seasons. While binge watching itself isn't particularly harmful, some of the behaviors involved in the activity can be. Here are 3 tips for staying healthy while marathoning your favorite shows.
Have Healthy Snacks on Hand
Many people have been socially conditioned to eat while watching television, and studies indicate they consume more food when doing so. This may be because television distracts viewers from what they are eating, making it easy for them to take in more calories than they should. This distraction also negatively impacts the perception of taste, so people may be more inclined to eat foods with higher concentrations of salt and sugar to feel satisfied.
One way to combat this is to have healthy snacks on hand to feed your cravings. Instead of chips and soda, create a tray of mixed vegetables and hummus. Fruit salad, plain air-popped popcorn, yogurt, granola bars, mozzarella sticks, smoothies, and trail mix are all good alternatives to the regular snacking fare. If you can't resist the unhealthier options, opt for single-serving sizes to reduce your risk of eating too much in one sitting.
Get Up & Walk Around Periodically
Sitting for long periods of time has proven to have a bad effect on health. When binge watching television shows, however, the immediate concern is preventing blood clots from forming in the legs. Blood in the lower limbs have to fight against gravity to get back to the heart. Sitting for a long time can slow circulation in the legs and feet, which increases your risk of forming clots. This is concerning because clots can break off, travel to the lungs, heart, or brain, and cause serious complications such as pulmonary embolism.
Your risk of developing blood clots increases exponentially if you are older, have a preexisting condition such as diabetes that affects your circulation, or are taking certain types of medication such as hormonal birth control pills.
You can counteract this by getting up at least once per hour and walking around for five or ten minutes to stimulate circulation in your legs. Alternatively, lying down with your feet elevated above your heart will make it easier for the blood in your lower limbs to circulate to the heart. Walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bicycle, or doing leg exercises during the show are other ways to get the blood pumping and improving your overall health.
Perform a Few Quick Eye Exercises Between Episodes
Unlike what your parents may have said, watching television for long periods of time won't permanently damage your eyes. It may, however, cause eye strain. Focusing on one particular point for hours on end stresses the eyes, and the eyes work harder if there is too much contrast between the light in the room and the television screen. Additionally, you tend to blink less when looking at computer monitors and television screens, which can contribute to dry eye.
Eyestrain is temporary and usually resolved by getting a good night's sleep. You can reduce your risk of developing it while binge watching television by taking a five-minute break each hour from looking at the screen.
Other things you can do include:
Maintaining good health while binge watching television may be a little challenging, but making the effort to reduce the negative effects related to the activity can increase your enjoyment. If you're planning a binge-watching session, maximize your satisfaction by taking advantage of Blu-ray TV series on the cheap and the special features this medium offers through resources like http://pristine-sales.com.
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