The medical records of devoted couch potatoes (or screen sloths?) are compelling. According to an international study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), those who devote more than four hours per day to a screen (TV, computer, tablet, phone, you name it!) bump up their risk of heart attack and stroke by 113%. The risk of death goes up nearly 50%. "But I exercise," you might be saying. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter. The results were the same whether or not a person worked out. Why?
If You're Reading This, Stand Up
It's not the screen's fault per se. It's the act the screen typically makes us do: simply sit. Sitting is, not surprisingly, a next-to-no intensity activity. Sitting quietly burns very few calories. (We hope you're standing up while reading this by now.)
Sitting also supresses the activity of an important enzyme involved in fat metabolism- lipoprotein lipase. According to one of the JACC study authors, this enzyme's activity is reduced by 90%. Sitting impairs the ability of this enzyme to break down the fat circulating in our blood for energy use. This puts our bodies at risk of numerous health problems, including cardiovascular disease and obesity.
"I have no choice but to sit." Not entirely true. Practice pausing, retweet later, log off or sign out, exit the window(s), or even shut down and unplug if necessary (drastic times!). Walk and talk! That's right, choose to phone a friend and walk during the conversation instead of resorting to instant messaging. In fact, during that walk, why not tell them what you were going to retweet or like. Your verbal and active conversation will surely yield positive results in both your health and your relationships. Type up a contract in which you promise yourself to set aside a few hours each day to look at anything but a screen. Live by it!