According to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021, people who watch more television in middle age have a higher risk of declining brain health in later years. Further, the studies presented indicate that watching too much television can result in cognitive decline and a reduction in gray matter. In conclusion, the study recommended that people select an activity to replace watching television so as to reduce the amount of time they spend in front of the gog box.

Brain health was measured by participants answering questions about their watching habits, completing cognitive tests, and undergoing brain MRI scans. From the data collected from participants, it was calculated that each 1-hour increase in a person’s daily average TV viewing time was tied to a 0.5 per cent reduction in grey-matter volume.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

While this research is not conclusive, it is fair to say that television watching is a sedentary activity that could result in decreased fitness levels and physical decline if no physical activity was undertaken. So, even if you do not believe this study, it is still helpful to take some time out of consuming television programmes to exercise.

Instead of picking up the remote control on a given day, why not go for a walk with a friend you been meaning to catch up with? And if you are not a walking person, perhaps think about what other activities interest you?

These can be any moderate aerobic activities which include:

  • brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
  • swimming
  • dancing (ballroom or social)
  • gardening
  • biking slower than 10 miles per hour
  • skipping

You may also choose to do more sedentary activities that stimulate brain functioning, including things such as knitting, completing crosswords, reading, playing a board game or playing an instrument.

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