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Exercise: A Secret Weapon Against Disease?

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TV Watching Takes a Toll on Your Health in Many Ways

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about how TV watching can harm your health. Numerous other studies have linked health and mental problems to even modest amounts of TV viewing. One researcher, Dr. Aric Sigman, has identified a slew of negative effects he believes can be blamed on watching television:

  • Obesity
  • Delayed healing
  • Heart trouble
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Damaged eyesight
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Decreased attention span
  • Hormone disturbances
  • Cancer
  • Early puberty
  • Autism
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Increased appetite
  • Limited brain growth
  • Diabetes

Watching TV also has a major impact on your brain chemistry. In fact, the longer you watch, the easier your brain slips into a receptive, passive mode, meaning that messages are streamed into your brain without any participation from you. (This is an advertiser’s dream, and likely one of the reasons why TV advertising—particularly ads directed at children and teens—works so well.)

Still, at the root of it all, you find that it’s really about the dangers of living a sedentary, “couch-potato” kind of life. The Daily Mail quotes Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, as saying:

“Physical activity offers huge benefits and these studies back what we already know – that a sedentary lifestyle carries additional risks. We hope these studies will help more people realize that there are many ways to get exercise.”

While Watching TV Takes Years Off Your Life, Exercise Adds Years

Yes, even a modest amount of exercise has been shown to add years to your lifespan. A study published just last month in The Lancet found that a mere 15 minutes of exercise a day can increase your lifespan by three years! Those who got themselves moving for at least 15 minutes a day, or 90 minutes a week, also had a 14 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Furthermore:

“Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 percent, and all-cancer mortality by 1 percent. These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks. Individuals who were inactive had a 17 percent increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.”

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

24 comments

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4:41PM PDT on May 22, 2012

obvious really. i LOVE to exercise!

11:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Most of this is kind of obvious, or?

1:04AM PST on Jan 30, 2012

We don't turn our TV on until later in the evening. I try to eat and get my exercise in before we turn the TV on.

11:34AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

I love exercise but don't always fit it in but hardly ever sit in front of the TV, always working while watching. This article is good and highlights the latest research on exercise and should make a few people get off the couch and realize all the benefits of moving. Seems like we did discover the fountain of youth (in exercise). Thanks, Dr. Mercola.

6:31AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

i do most of my ab works, weight lifting, jogging in place, jumping jacks while watching TV. if i dont have tv i have to have music otherwise i'm not motivated to do those work outs. but i will always be motivated to walk. Its just to quiet and dull without some kind of sound in the back ground, besides i dont watch TV often only when a good show is on which is hardly ever. tuesdays for Taboo. so i work out and watch tv. and i'm not getting more of one over the other

10:50PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I forwarded this on to a couple of 'known' couch potatoes in the family!
Thanks.

9:42PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

We forget that for hundreds of thousands of years, humans stayed healthy by working, mostly outside. They were constantly in motion. Our lifestyles are damaging...sitting, lying down, etc. Of course, its only part of it. Diet, avoiding toxins, etc. Life today is a jungle.

8:14PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I find the distraction of a TV on while exercising is counter productive. I must admit to finding TV abhorrent, so that's not a fair assessment, but when I'm in the exercise room and drivel is coming over the airwaves, it's hard to focus on what is going on with the body, and to me, that's important. Attention is key to intention!

4:49PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Well DUH! Move or hang/sit/lie around motionless... lets think very hard what is better for our bodies...

2:07PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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