Wellness

5 ways that binge-watching is terrible for your body

Put down the remote, step away slowly.
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Binge-watching is so popular that the term itself has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary. It's just so convenient and satisfying to watch a series on Netflix, for example – no commercial breaks, you don't have to wait a week for another episode so the storyline is fresh in your mind, and that urgent need-to-know-now feeling when an episode ends with a cliffhanger? No problem, because you can find out ASAP what happens next!

If only it were all good. As satisfying and enjoyable as this new way of enjoying television is, it's also true that your habit could be hurting your health. You might want to seriously reconsider your new weekend plan to stay horizontal on the couch after reading this – sorry. Put down the popcorn… here are five ways binge-watching could be bad for you.=

It could shorten your life!

We're getting real fast. All of that sitting as you binge watch could kill you earlier. Even if you're a regular Crossfit addict or run every morning and get your regular doses of activity into your day, you could be unraveling all of that healthy gains thanks to those long stints of sitting or lying on your couch as you binge watch episode after episode. A study published in 2012 found that periods of being sedentary could shorten one's lifespan by up to two years. That's even if you're physically active and don't smoke. Specifically, it's sitting more than three hours a day that can bring about an earlier death, and we all knows that's only a handful of episodes of Homeland, and we've been known to watch an entire series over a weekend.

All that snacking at the worst time leads to weight gain

Late-night binge-watching leads to after-hours snacking. Even if you eat the same number of calories over a day, eating them almost around the clock (as you do when you stay up late watching just one more episode) could lead to gaining weight. This is according to a study conducted on mice published in the journal Cell Metabolism; it appears that a period of fasting for 12 hours may trigger some fat-burning mechanisms in the body.

You could be eating too much for dinner

Is your comfortable new habit to consume dinner as you consume your new favourite show?

Binge-watching can lead to mindless eating, and when you're distracted by TV, (how can you not get lost in the storyline of The OA!), causing you miss the cues your body gives you that you're feeling full before you go for seconds. And the chances are you aren't even enjoying the taste of your meal.

Slouching and staring at screens too long are bad for you--duh!

The screen time is killer to your eyes and posture. As your watch your screen and your eyes focus and react to the show playing out on it for hours on end, you're asking a lot from your eyes. You're working them hard and consecutive hours of watching your latest obsession could lead to dry eyes, blurriness, headaches, neck pain and more.

You can die from blood clots. Fun.

Streaming show after show is linked to greater risk of dying from a blood clot. A recent study conducted by researchers at Osaka University found that as you kick back and watch back to back (to back) episodes, your risk of dying from a pulmonary embolism goes up. In fact, for every two hours more of TV you watch daily, your risk of dying of a blood clot in the lungs goes up a whopping 40 percent. The researchers speculate that as our lifestyles become increasingly sedentary due to streaming services, the danger of the inactive hours will cause these death rates to rise.

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