Jun
27

Attention Couch Potatoes: Turn Off TV For Your Successful Retirement

By admin

Carolyn Rosenblatt,
AgingParents.com <http://agingparents.com/>

Leisure time.  Doesn’t it sound great?  When you’re building your career, your business, raising your family and climbing the corporate ladder, there isn’t enough of it.  When you retire, there can be too much of it.  Here’s some news about what we do in our leisure time that is actually dangerous.

A study of adults in our country published by the National Institutes of Health <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796695/?tool=pubmed>  suggests that far too many of us are spending more than two hours of our free time a day watching TV or sitting in front of a computer screen.  According to the researchers, about 55% of waking hours is spent in sedentary behaviors such as these among both adults and children in the U.S.

I guess it’s no wonder that our country has this problem with so many people being overweight.  But, did you know that there is also a direct link between too much TV or computer time and something called “metabolic syndrome”?

What’s that? It’s a combination of several heart disease and diabetes risk factors including obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar..  Metabolic syndrome affects about 36% of our U.S. population.  Who knew so many things could go wrong from just sitting around watching TV or surfing the net too long?

What they found in the study is that in men, four or more hours of leisure time sedentary behavior, such as computer and television viewing time may put you at higher risk of metabolic syndrome, even if you exercise!  I’m an exerciser, and I was shocked by this.  Not that I have time to sit around and watch four hours a day of TV.  It was surprising that four hours of  leisure time computer viewing  and TV watching seemed to increase the risk of heart disease in men.

Fortunately, in the women they studied, getting the recommended amount of exercise (150 minutes a week) seemed to mitigate the risk for metabolic syndrome. So if you take a walk for 30 minutes five days a week, it sounds as if it’s not as bad a risk for us females, even with a few hours of screen watching.

Here’s what I got from this, ladies: we can’t let our men become couch potato retirees.

There have been plenty of studies of how retired people spend their time.  You guessed it, many of them spend hours and hours watching TV. The number of hours spent in front of a TV appears to increase with age.

If we want to live long and well, we surely need to pry ourselves off the couch and out of the chair.  As tempting as it may be to get engrossed in computer games, the net or broadcast TV, we need to keep longevity in mind if we want to avoid metabolic syndrome in retirement.
Successful retirement is more than avoiding being a couch potato or dodging metabolic syndrome. It’s a positive state of well being, with a sense of meaning in your life.  You get there by maintaining structure in your days, connecting to your community, and finding your purpose after you give up the big career.

From what this study teaches us, being engaged in your retirement life with other people, as opposed to screen watching time, will also have a positive effect on our health.  Mental wellness  <http://agingparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=145:staymmentallyhealthy&catid=76:elder-psychology&Itemid=142> is just as important as physical wellness.  So plan well, put your efforts toward retiring with lots of good, trouble free years ahead, and get off the couch.

Categories : Senior Home Care

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