Game of Thrones is a very interesting and fascinating TV show centered around medieval fantasies, manipulations, and fight for control of 7 kingdoms. The show, with daily audience demand expression of 4,981,707, is currently one of the most watched TV shows alongside shows like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Pretty Little Liars, and Big Bang Theory to mention these few. So you can imagine the number of fans that the TV show, Game of Thrones must have garnered. And some of these fans may be at risk of serious health problems.
So, before all the fans of the popular TV show, Game of Throne, call the hangman on me, let me just say that I still love Game of Thrones. See, I just said I still love the TV series. Now that is out of the way, and we are all friends again, then what am I really talking about? I mean “BINGE-WATCHING” the show or any of the above mentioned interesting TV shows, on the planet, can be dangerous to your health. But prior to discussing the health impact, what is binge-watching?
What Is Binge-Watching And Why Do Folks Do It?
Binge-watching, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is simply a rapid process of watching some or all episodes of a TV series through DVDs and digital streaming. Examples of these popular digital streams are HULU, VUDU, NETFLIX and AMAZON VIDEO. And I must confess that I am guilty of using all of them with no regrets. Ha, I am getting carried away again and beginning to digress. So back to the topic at hand, why do people binge-watch these TV series?
So many studies have been carried out to determine why people binge-watch. One of these studies, from NETFLIX, and which I find very logical, is that folks (about 76%) indicated that, despite their busy lifestyle, they enjoy the comfort of escaping to a different reality and binge-watching affords them this opportunity. 8-10% stated that it is just more fun watching the whole episodes than a single episode of these interesting shows. This is because the shows captivate you, and make you eager to know what comes next. Another 10%, from a different study, say that the shows are means to whiling away time. Regardless of these findings, who would not want to binge watch these shows? Have you really seen how interesting some of these shows can be? Take a look at some moments/clip from the Game of Thrones
Get my point!? The show is so fascinating that I am currently watching it on VUDU as I write this paper; I just can’t help myself. And guess what, I don’t feel like anything is happening to me like going blind or having a headache. I am sure most people at this point would agree with me on this immediate conclusion. So then, what are these health consequences associated with watching so many of these TV episodes, in a short while, that some folks keep talking about?
Health Impact Of Binge-Watching
Stupid me, the impact is not immediately felt. This health impact, over time, has to do with the phrase, “too much of everything is bad for your health.” In this case, too much of sitting down could be deadly to your health. Binge-watching TV series involves spending a lot of time sitting in a particular spot, like at a desk job. And so, many researchers have denoted the major negative impact of long-term sitting.
It sucks that we now sit on an average of 9.3 hours, even more than we sleep (about 7.7 hours); no thanks to computers, TV and desk jobs. Scientists have indicated that sitting for more than 6 hours plus per day can increase the risk of death by 40%, within 15 years. What about the relatively shorter time impact that affects almost all of us especially my fellow TV shows viewers? That is, the fact that sitting for more than 3 hours a day watching TV is more likely to increase the risk of heart attack by 64%. This is because sitting leads to increased fat in the blood due to 90% drop in fat breaking enzymes; larger waist circumference; calorie burning drops to 1 per minutes; and lower High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (good cholesterol), all of which add up to increased risk of heart disease.
Scary right that you just found out that what you do almost every day is most likely to kill you. So, generally, any form of sitting for so long, which most of us are guilty of, should be avoided. And this includes TV shows binge-watching. But why does sitting for so long have such an impact?
Come to think of it, these impacts make a whole lot of sense because humans were not actually built to function like that—sitting and lazing around. This is why we have legs to move around and be active; probably the reason why our early ancestors are less prone to heart attack. This is good to know but really not important especially for a lot of us couch potatoes; the pertinent question now is how can we minimize the impact of sitting for so long?
How To Alleviate The Impact Of Binge-watching
Interrupt the movie watching by moving around every 30 minutes because, according to recent scientific study, sitting for a long time even with exercise alone can still shorten your lifespan. In addition, try and be active on your feet at least 7 hours a day and also do some sitting exercises. Here are six of my favorites sitting position exercises:
1. Leg lifting
2. Chest push up
3. Calf muscle toning
4. Side Leaning
5. Rotating at the waist
Brief descriptions of what each of these exercises look like is given below for ease of their identification in the work out video that comes afterward.
1. Leg lifting: While seated in an upright position, lift each leg, one at a time, until perpendicular to the upper body
2. Chest push up: Forward lean with your hands on your knee, and then push up and down repeatedly.
3. Calf muscle toning: Lean forward with your elbows touching your knee and arms stretched outwards, then lift your foot up until just the toes are touching the floor. Repeat the process as shown in the video.
4. Side Leaning: Bend sideways like you are trying to pick up something. Do this for both the left and right sides (see video).
5. Rotating at the waist: With both hands interlocked, stretch your arms outwards horizontally. And then turn as much as you can to the left and then to the right. See video for the demonstration.
6. Crunching: Move to the edge of the seat, lift your legs a bit from the ground and straighten them, then raise your back a few inches above the backrest. Hold for a couple of seconds and feel the burn. This is not shown in the video
The video, below, gives a great demonstration of all of the above-listed exercises except number 6.
The truth be told, using myself as an example, is that in as much as I am privy to this information, I have been sitting for too long as I write this article on my laptop. So, the take away here is that you need to be disciplined to curb the impact of sitting for too long, and that is if you are serious about protecting your health. I hope we all take this into consideration as we enjoy binge-watching our favorite TV shows with family and friends. Cheers to your health and thanks for reading.