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One activity that may affect your healthy aging according to science.

A recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in JAMA Network Open, has provided compelling evidence on the impact of television watching on healthy aging. The study, which analyzed data from over 45,000 participants reveals that prolonged television viewing is significantly detrimental to aging healthily.

Healthy aging in this context is defined as living to at least 70 years old without major chronic diseases, cognitive impairments, or physical and mental health issues. The study found that every additional two hours of TV watching per day was associated with a 12% decrease in the odds of achieving healthy aging. Conversely, replacing two hours of television watching with light physical activity increased the odds of healthy aging by 6%, while substituting it with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity boosted the odds by 28%.

Dr. Molin Wang, the study’s senior author, emphasized the importance of replacing sedentary activities like TV watching with more active behaviors. Even light physical activities, such as routine household chores, can positively impact longevity and health. The researchers also highlighted that individuals who replaced TV time with sleep, particularly those not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep, saw benefits in healthy aging.

The study underscores the broader implications of sedentary lifestyles on aging. Prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting for extended hours while watching TV, contribute to various health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cognitive decline. Furthermore, sedentary behavior often accompanies other unhealthy habits like consuming junk food and poor sleep patterns, exacerbating its negative effects.

Experts like Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, note that sitting for long periods is particularly harmful due to associated behaviors. Watching TV often involves snacking on unhealthy foods and social isolation, both of which can further deteriorate health. He suggests incorporating movement into daily routines, such as using standing desks or taking frequent breaks to walk around, to mitigate the adverse effects of prolonged sitting.

In conclusion, the study strongly advocates for reducing TV time and incorporating more physical activity into daily life to promote healthier aging. This shift can lead to significant improvements in longevity and overall well-being, highlighting the crucial role of lifestyle choices in the aging process.

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