The days of waiting for a week to watch the next episode of your favorite television show may be coming to an end. Today, many people are likely to wait until they can get the complete TV series on Blu-Ray, where viewers can enjoy watching a whole season or series complete with special features and commentary. If this sounds like your viewing habits, you may be willing to admit that binge watching is not the healthiest habit to have. However, with some adjustments to your viewing routine, you can practice healthier, safer binge watching. Take a look at some practical tips for the next time you want to have a marathon viewing session of your favorite show.
Leave the Lights On
It may be fun to recreate the experience of watching in a movie theater, but watching television or a computer screen in the dark is hard on your eyes, and the longer you do it, the more you're risking eyestrain and fatigue.
An experiment that involved having subjects watch an hour of a movie with surrounding wall illumination and an hour of a movie without wall illumination revealed that when subjects watched with the wall illumination, they experienced less eyestrain and fatigue, less visual discomfort, and faster response time. Do your eyes a favor and leave the lights on while you binge watch.
Take Time to Move Around
You hear a lot today about how sitting for extended periods of time in the workplace is harmful for worker's health. But the same thing applies to sitting for extended periods of time in your own home. You may be relaxing, but your body still feels the strain. Studies show that adults who indulge in more than four hours of screen time a day have a 50% higher risk of death and a 125% higher risk of a cardiovascular event.
Luckily, it's easy to combat the effects of too much sitting – all you have to do is get up and move. Stand up once an hour, even for just a moment or two in order to give your spine a break and improve your circulation. And get about 30 minutes of activity every day. Moderate activity, equivalent to a brisk walk, housecleaning, or yard work is enough – it's not necessary to do a heavy workout to counteract the effects of sitting. You can even break the activity up into ten-minute (or even smaller) increments if you want – just make sure it adds up to 30 minutes throughout the day.
Surrounding yourself with water bottles during your television marathon – or better yet, filling your fridge with them so that you have an excuse to get up and walk away from the couch periodically – does two important things. For one, it fills you up, making you less likely to overeat while your mind is focused on your show.
For another thing, drinking water increases your resting energy expenditure. That means that you burn more calories – even while resting – just by drinking water. The effects are even greater if you drink cold water. If you're suspending your normal activity for the day to binge watch your favorite television show, or if you don't get a lot of physical activity on a regular basis, upping your water intake can help you keep your calorie intake down and your metabolism up, helping you avoid possible weight gain.
Binge watching doesn't have to be an unhealthy activity. When you binge watch in moderation and take proper precautions to protect your health, it can be a fun and low-cost way to indulge yourself on a weekend off.