If you are someone who loves curling up on the couch and watching television for long hours, then here’s an important piece of information for you. Scientists have found a potential link between too much TV and risk of mobility problems in elderly.
Prolonged periods of sitting and too much TV which means watching hour after hour of TV may increase your chances of walking disability later in life, warn researchers of a new study.
According to the study, older people who watch more than five hours of television a day and devote three or lesser hours to physical activity a week may be at more than a three-fold higher risk of being unable to walk or having difficulty in walk.
“TV watching is a very potent risk factor for disability in older age. Sitting and watching TV for long periods (especially in the evening) has got to be one of the most dangerous things that older people can do because they are much more susceptible to the damages of physical inactivity,” said the lead author of the study Loretta Dipietro, Ph.D., MPH, Chair of the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).
The decade-long study examined a group of healthy people between the ages of 50 and 71 and found that spending too much time watching TV was specifically harmful for elders when combined with low levels of exercise.
In the study, DiPietro and her colleagues kept records of all the male and female participants who were recruited from six different states and two metropolitan areas. At the start of the study, the team investigated the participants about how much they watched the TV, indulge in physical activity, did gardening or any sort of household task. They then followed them for about 10 years.
After observing the participants, the research team found that 30 percent of the participants who were healthy at the beginning of the investigation reported a movement disability-having trouble in walking or being unable to walk at all.
Further investigation showed that those who watched too much TV i.e. five or more hours of television per day had a 65 percent greater risk of reporting a mobility disability at the study’s end, as compared to those who watched television for less than two hours per day.
DiPietro said: We’ve engineered physical activity out of our modern life with commuting, elevators, the internet, mobile phones, and a lifestyle (think Netflix streaming) that often includes 14 hours of sitting per day. Our findings suggest that older people who want to remain fit must ramp up their daily physical activity and reduce the amount of time they spend sitting.”
“To stay active and healthy as you age, move more and sit less throughout the day, every day,” he concluded.