We have Philo Taylor Farnsworth II, the American inventor for the first all- electronic television system to be ever grateful to.
What started out as a device to share news around the world, has now turned into a phenomena, from a ‘Nice to have” to a “Need to have” device, not only in every home but also in every room of your home.
Research shows —
- Almost every household subscribes to TV channels and spends at least as much as three hours a day watching TV.
- TV encourages a sedentary lifestyle of relaxation after work hours; most people watch TV to unwind after work, this impacts health and wellbeing and is one of the major contributors to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- Metabolic function does slow down when you sit for long periods of time without moving, as there is low energy expenditure, eventually leading to imbalances and weight gain.
- Even if you exercise three to four days a week, but spend the rest of the time being a couch potato, it could result imbalances leading to diseases. It is important to get up, stretch and walk around for three to five minutes, every half hour, to keep your metabolism ticking.
- It is known that binge eating especially when you are watching TV is hard to control, sitting with a bag of chips and a coke makes a perfect setting for overall comfort. Know that once you get engrossed in what you are watching, the hand to mouth movement does not stop, if this is happening on a daily basis, you are indeed sitting on a time bomb. This is not so when you are doing other sedentary activities, it’s the TV!
- We all grew up with our parents saying, “don’t sit so close to the TV or your eyes will turn square.” There is truth that the binge-watching can cause muscle fatigue, headaches, dryness, redness and irritation as you tend to blink only half as much as you would normally do while watching TV. Yes binge-watching can impact your vision.
- A good nights sleep is imperative for good health, and guess what, you can never make up sleep loss. So if your binge watching is creeping into your eight-hour sleep schedule, you are in for trouble.
- The yo-yo between TV and staying online with social media can be all consuming and an addiction. I encourage you to watch the documentary film “Social Dilemma” for some home truths. This is a gross addiction, companies like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, You tube, leave you spoilt for choice and keep springing new stuff to hold your attention. Yes we have all fallen into the trap at the cost of our health.
- When depressed or suffering from depression and anxiety, it is very easy to slip into binge-watching TV as a source of comfort, since very often sleep evades you and what better way to pass a sleepless night than in front on a screen?
- The conversation at any get-together definitely includes, “so what are you watching these days” and blah blah the never-ending list of must watch shows begins. The “fear of missing out” puts you on the fast track to watch an entire season in a night so you can move onto the next show. This spirals and can go on to crashing your foundation of routine exercise, healthy eating and sound sleep.
- Sacrificing your sleep day in and day out can put you at a risk of diseases such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, obesity, or suicidal behavior. Make it a habit to stop watching TV at least an hour prior to bedtime; this does not affect your sleep. I for one do not have a TV in my bedroom, so it’s easy to switch off and come into your room to get into a relaxed frame of mind that induces sound sleep.
- Do you know that binge-watching TV can send you into a trance, where you actually forget about the rest of the world, your responsibilities or commitments which can even stretch to avoiding personal hygiene and self care.
- Isolation is the new way of life since the pandemic happened. A lot of people are finding it difficult to go back to working in-person and this is impacting the mental health of communities at large. Isolating, cocooning at home and binge-watching TV are running hand-in-hand for many. It is a disease in itself, eventually making people socially awkward and lonely. The bottom line is that a romcom or comedy show might provide temporary relief and cheer you up, but they do not by any stretch of imagination cure depression and loneliness.
- Verbal memory is another health issue, which can crop up especially in older adults. A study shows that watching TV for more than three and a half hours a day was associated with decline in memory of words and language in time and may even lead to dementia.
- Advertisements during shows or the show content all promote size zero body shapes, unhealthy eating, alcohol and smoking. All created unrealistically. It is the copycat culture that has always held viewership, influencing choices and attitudes.
I always believe that there is a silver lining to everything in life; here is the silver lining to binge-watching TV —
Educational benefits — staying updated with world news, watching documentaries on science and technology inventions.
Relaxation benefits — programmes on meditation, nature walks, spiritual services.
Screen-based activities — video games, surfing the net, online shopping do keep your memory alert.
Watching TV with a combination of contrasting activities like exercising, reading, socializing will contribute to cognitive preservation and balance your life.
Is it possible to enjoy reality TV shows and protect your health, both mentally and physically?
Body positivity influencer and blogger Charlotte Emily Price believes it is —
“I detach myself from comparison by practicing self-love and journaling. This might seem silly, but I genuinely believe the more in touch you are with your mind, what your values are, and what you want from life to make you feel fulfilled, the happier you’ll be with your external appearance and you’re less likely to care about what your body looks like compared to the next.”
So whatever you watch, balance and mindfulness is key!