On a dreary day — no matter the time of year — it's easy to want to stay inside with a warm blanket and binge-watch your favorite shows. The trend of watching multiple or even all episodes of a TV series in one sitting has become the new normal. According to a study done by Deloitte External Site, 70 percent of consumers admit to binge-watching TV. While it’s entertaining to watch a whole season in one sitting, the impact it can have on your health is alarming enough to hit the pause button. So, how do you get the best of both worlds? Here are some ways to watch your favorite shows while making healthy lifestyle choices.
Move while you watch
Consuming a lot of TV doesn’t have to mean sitting on the couch for hours. There are many ways you can watch all of your favorite shows and still stay active. Some of our favorites include:
- Make it a game: Take advantage of often-used catch phrases and do an exercise every time the phrase is mentioned. For example, do five push-ups every time a "Game of Thrones" character says, “Winter is coming,” or ten lunges every time Joey says, “How you doin'?” on "Friends."
- Stand up frequently: Just because you're watching your favorite show doesn't mean you have to sit on the couch while doing it. Simply by standing up rather than sitting, you can burn more calories. While you're standing, you may even want to throw in a stretch for added effect.
- Take advantage of home gym equipment, if you have it: It’s easier than ever to stay active and watch television with the help of our smart phones and tablets. You can keep your favorite shows on while you walk on the treadmill, do an elliptical workout or use the stationary bike. It’s a great way to continue watching without the guilt. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings when using the equipment.
Stay active with the help of Blue365®
Whether you choose to track your steps in between episodes or watch a show on the treadmill, you can take advantage of Blue365 External Site. If you're a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield member, you get access to exclusive discounts on wellness products and services like fitness trackers and athletic shoes through Blue365. Browse the healthy deals and daily offers today. All you need is your Wellmark ID card to get started.
Take a break
Unless you’re having TV marathons with your family, your social life typically goes down when your TV consumption goes up. Take a break in between episodes and use that time to contact a friend. Going on a walk while on the phone is a healthy way to fill the time. This will help you take a step away and welcome some interaction into the day.
Another reason to press the pause button is to relieve your eyes and prevent eye strain. Staring at a screen all day takes a toll on them. Be kind to your eyes by:
- Skipping the small screen: Watching on a bigger screen can prevent you from straining your eyes more than if you were staring at a smaller screen. If you're watching TV on a phone or tablet, allow at least 16 inches between you and the screen.
- Avoiding the glare: To prevent other vision issues, try to watch television in a well-lit area with little to no glare appearing on the screen. You can also turn the brightness down on your device’s settings.
Practice mindful eating
Keep up your TV marathon without the added calorie consumption. Long periods spent in front of the television usually lead to less healthy eating habits. Most of us want to eat something quick and easy when watching TV, like chips or popcorn. However, those empty calories — paired with a sedentary lifestyle — can lead to weight gain. Instead of reaching for salty, sugary, or processed food, choose a snack like apples and peanut butter or frozen grapes. You can find other healthy snack alternatives right here on Blue.
Don't lose sleep
Just one more episode. We’ve all had that thought, but before you know it, it’s 2 a.m. We hate to break it to you, but that extra hour spent on the couch instead of sleeping can affect your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site, lack of sleep can lead to more high-risk health problems than just being overly tired. To name a few, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity have all been linked to a lack of sleep. That’s why it’s important to know when it’s time to shut the TV off and get some shut eye.
If it’s later at night, be conscious of the time. Instead of getting caught up in the cliff-hanger at the end, read the preview of the next episode and see if it’s worth losing an extra hour of sleep over.
Remember that balance is key
It's okay to dig in deep to our favorite TV shows. After all, it provides entertainment and something to talk about with our friends or coworkers. But, it's also important to remind ourselves that the latest TV series that everyone is talking about shouldn't take over our lives. Instead, keep in mind our bodies' need for natural movement, good sleep habits and old-fashioned face-to-face social interaction. Plus, it can also be beneficial for your health to turn off the devices altogether and open a book for some much-needed relaxation.
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